School tests emergency alert system

March 12, 2019 — by Isaac Le and Andrew Li

The Los Gatos-Saratoga High School District sent out text messages and emails to all parents and students on Feb. 6 to test a new emergency broadcast system. This was the first of annual text messages to test the proficiency of the new safety system, and its results were successful, as students and parents received the notification.

According to Tony Palma, the head of facilities for the district, Saratoga’s elementary school district has already been using this system to efficiently distribute crucial information, such as shelter-in-place alerts.

The setup of this new system was intricate and time- consuming, he said. Planning for the test of the alert system involved multiple processes, including confirming contact information, programming the back end distribution channels, and sending out preliminary notices and ultimately testing the “send” functions.

When an emergency or safety-related event impacts the school community, the system allows the district to access the contacts of parents and students in case of an emergency to send text alerts.