Ping4alerts! Emergency Notification System

During an emergency, Massey University will use the ping4alerts! system to send alerts to members of the University community. The system allows the University to send alerts to tablet and smartphone users, within a specific geographic location who have installed the ping4alerts! app on their device.

The app will only be used to send emergency alerts and for testing, which will occur every second month including at that start of each semester.

Download ping4alerts!

The app is available on all iOS and android devices. It can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and the Google Play online store for android devices. More information can also be found on the ping4alerts! website.

Instructions for use

Find instructions for using the ping app.

It is recommended that staff and students add campus locations to their "watched" list.  Setting up a watched location allows recipients to receive alerts and messages that pertain to a specific location, irrespective of where they are located in the world.  For example, this enables Massey University staff and students to receive alerts about their campus, regardless of whether they are on campus when the alert is sent.  A watched location can be set up by going into the settings within the app, selecting ‘watched locations’ and searching for the location that you require and dropping a pin on it, or watch this helpful video, which provides instructions for adding a watched location.

Features of ping4alerts!

Standard Operating Procedures

The app will only be used to send emergency alerts and for testing, which will occur every second month including at that start of each semester. There are standard operating procedures for this app, which are a sub-plan of Massey University’s emergency communication plan.

The ping app, which replaces the web-based text messaging system, is just one of several channels, including the website, email and social media, the University will use to communicate to staff and students during an emergency. Further details can be found in the emergency communications plan.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the ping4alerts! system?
A: Ping4alerts! is an emergency communications platform that allows public safety agencies to send high precision, location-based emergency alerts to people in their community. The system leverages the location-based services of today’s smartphones and tablets to send multimedia alerts and messages to users based on their location. You can learn more about the system at ping4.com.

Q: Where do I get the app or get more information?
A: The ping4alerts! app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and theGoogle Play online store for Android devices. More information can also be found on the Ping4 website at ping4.com.

Q: What operating systems are supported?
A: Only iOS 7.0 and 7.1 onwards are supported and on Android version 2.3.3 (OS API level 10) and above.

Q: Is there a ping4alerts! app for Microsoft mobile phones using Windows operating software?
A: Currently there is not a version of this app for Windows mobile phones.  While there are articles on the internet with instructions as to how to setup a Windows phone to run Android applications, this approach is not test or supported by ping4alerts!.

Q: What type of alerts will I receive?
A: Once you download the app, you can adjust your preferences in the settings section of the app. The default settings include receiving "public safety" messages.

Q: How will ping4alerts! notify me if an alert has been sent?
A: When a new alert is sent, the ping4alerts! app will cause your phone to sound an audible alert and it will push a notification to your phone’s screen. The sound settings for notifications can be adjusted in the app's "settings" section.

Q: What do I do after receiving a message?
A: It depends on the nature of the event. The message may contain a recommended course of action. The message may also provide prompt you to access additional critical information by touching buttons or links on the ping4alerts! message screen. In the event of an emergency, you should also check other sources of public safety information, such as the radio or television or other channels supplying information from public safety officials.

Q: Is the ping4alerts! app storing or tracking my information?
A: No. Ping4alerts! app uses your location, when you have location services enabled on your smartphone, to provide you with emergency warnings if you are in the affected area. While Ping4alerts! is aware of your location, it does not receive or store any identifying information from your smartphone. The system knows where you are, but not who you are or anything about you.

Q: What functions will the app have if cellular AND data networks are down?
A: The app relies on data service (either through a WiFi network or cellular system) to provide situational information. If there is no data service available, the messages will not be received until the data service is operational. In this situation in the event of an emergency, you would need to check other sources of public safety information, such as the radio or television, or other channels supplying information from public safety officials.

Q: What is a “watched location” and how do I set one up?
A: Usually you have to be within the ‘geo-fence’ of the alert to receive it.  Setting up a “watched location” allows recipients to receive alerts and messages that pertain to a specific location, irrespective of where they are located in the world. A “watched location” can be set up by going into the settings within the app, selecting “watched locations” searching for the location that you require and dropping a pin on it. Note that the map interface on the iOS system is a Satellite map whereas the Android uses a conventional map.

Q: Can I share the messages and alerts on social media?
A: Yes, ping4alerts! supports Facebook and Twitter and the alerts can be shared within your networks. Likewise, the originating organisation can also utilise their Facebook and Twitter feeds to further disseminate the message or alert.

Q: Can I respond to the alert or message?
A: If the sender wants that capability then they can enable a one touch call back facility or an anonymous tip capability which allows recipients to communicate back to the sending organisation. A phone icon or an envelope icon will be displayed if these have been enabled.

Q: I am having trouble with the app and I believe it is not working correctly. What should I do?
A: Once the ping4alerts! app has been downloaded, please make sure that the location services for the app are enabled so that you can receive specific warnings and messages based on your location. There is also a feature in the settings to send yourself a test message. If there are specific technical questions, there is a “report a problem” option within the app’s settings, or you can email: support@ping4.com.

Q: What else will the ping4alerts! System be used for at Massey University?
A: Massey University will only use Ping4alerts! as an emergency communications platform to communicate public safety information related to specific and relevant locations. 

Q: Who is able to use the ping4alerts! at Massey University?
A: Ping4alerts! will only be used by authorised members of the emergency communications team.

Q: Is there a policy or procedures for the use of ping4alerts! at Massey University?
A:  The use of ping4alerts! at Massey University is dictated by the standard operating procedures standard operating procedures. These procedures are a sub-plan of Massey University’s emergency communication plan emergency communication plan.

Q: How do I delete alerts on my phone?
A: On an iPhone, or iOS supported device, you delete alerts by swiping from right to left on an alert in the alert list view.  A delete button will appear on the right hand side of the alert. On an Android device you delete by swiping either right to left or left to right.  A popup message will appear for a couple of seconds with the option to undo the delete.

 Common iOS Problems

Q: What do I do if I can’t save Settings, Watched Locations, etc.?
A: The app requires Push Notifications to be enabled to get the anonymous token from Apple. Go to iPhone (iPad)  Settings -> Notifcation Center -> scroll down to the Include section -> select the ping4alerts! ->  Choose the Banner Alert Style, enable the other settings on the screen (Badge App Icon, Sounds, Show in Notification Center, and Show on Lock Screen).

Q: What do I do if I am not receiving alerts?
A: Go to Privacy -> Location Services -> Enable the overall setting
Scroll down to the ping4alerts! -> Enable location services for the app

Q: What do I do if my phone gets stuck in a location?
A: The app requires background fetch to be enabled on the phone.  If you go to iPhone Settings -> General -> Background App Refresh, make sure the top level setting, Background App Refresh, is enabled.  Scroll down to ping4alerts! and make sure the toggle next to the app is also enabled.

Need more help?

There is a “report a problem” option within the app’s settings, or you can email: support@ping4.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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