Recent weather events have served as a vivid reminder that normal operations at the University can be disrupted or cancelled on a moments notice. With this in mind, Brad Englert, Chief Information Officer (CIO), was especially pleased to announce that a new off campus emergency website had been launched on January 15, 2014. The off campus site – emergency.utexas.edu – will be used when the on-campus emergency website is unreachable due to a catastrophic IT outage. Even though the recent ice days were handled using UT Austin’s on-site emergency website, it is comforting to know that the University now has an off campus emergency website capability when needed.
The emergency site (on campus and off campus) enables Campus Safety & Security (CS&S) personnel to update the official University status online in case of campus emergency. In addition, it enables key personnel across campus to provide critical information to campus. The old emergency website required a webmaster to update content on behalf of CS&S, potentially delaying urgent communications to campus. Plus, in keeping with the University’s mobile strategy to use responsive web design, the new website was created in Drupal.
The new site also addresses a concern expressed by CS&S in during an annual Information Technology Services (ITS) disaster recovery planning session. During an emergency, CS&S relies on information posted by departments and units to their web pages. Each college, school or unit wanted the ability to post specific information for their areas of responsibility, but there was no way to do that before. The new site meets this need.