A Good Reminder – Emergency Preparedness

Several times a year, the University’s Crisis Management Team meets to review plans and procedures and to practice ‘tabletop exercises.’  Tabletop exercises present the Crisis Management Team with a hypothetical crisis and the team is asked to formulate a response in real time, with changing conditions and variables.

I was in a meeting two weeks ago to prepare for an upcoming December tabletop exercise, and our sub-team talked about the importance of parents and families understanding what would happen if there was a campus crisis and how they would be notified.   This is information from the Wake Ready web site, which provides information on emergency preparedness.

On the Wake Ready website, at the left hand side is a list of menu items that are linked to pages with greater detail on what alert methods are used, building evacuation procedures, etc.   I would urge all Wake Forest families to read through this web site carefully, AND to make sure your student does as well.

One important note is that in the event of a campus crisis, members of the campus community (students, faculty, staff) are notified via email and text.  We do not text message or email parents, because in the moment of a crisis, that message has to get out to the immediate members of our campus (the larger the distro list, the longer it takes to notify everyone).   If the Wake Alert system is activated, there will be a banner message at the top of the main Wake Forest web site as well as the Parents’ Page.  You can also follow @WakeAlert on Twitter.

The text below is from the Wake Ready web site, in an article entitled “University officials encourage all to get familiar with Wake Alert”.  Again, please review the Wake Ready site for emergency preparedness, and Wake Alert site if an emergency were declared.

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In an emergency, Wake Forest University officials encourage students, faculty and staff to take advantage of its Wake Alert emergency notification system to receive alerts and timely updates.

The centerpiece of the multi-faceted system is the Wake Alert website at http://wakealert.wfu.edu.

“Wake Alert is the go-to site if there’s an incident that poses a substantial risk to campus safety,” said Regina Lawson, chief of University Police and member of the University’s Crisis Management Team.  “We recommend that our campus community, parents and others turn to the Wake Alert web site as the primary source of information in any emergency impacting campus operations.”

In addition to offering emergency alerts and updates, the Wake Alert website provides timely details on campus closings and schedule changes during bad weather such as snow or ice storms.

Wake Forest launched the web site in 2011 and has steadily improved it since that time, with special emphasis placed on streamlining its look and bolstering its expected ability to handle a sharp traffic spike during an emergency.  If an incident occurred that posed a substantial risk to campus safety, the University expects that visits to the University’s website, including Wake Alert, will quickly far exceed usual traffic.

In all, the University employs up to seven alert methods to offer advisories and information. All operate as part of the overall Wake Alert emergency notification system.  Other methods include text messaging, an outdoor warning system, cable cable TV, e-mail, voice mail, Twitter and a recorded message on the Wake Forest Weather and Emergency Phone Line.  Details are available on the Wake Ready website, launched in spring 2012 and loaded with emergency preparedness information.  That site is at http://wakeready.wfu.edu.

Lawson recommends the following:

–Register for text alerts available to students, faculty and staff. Undergraduates are required to register. See the signup instructions on Wake Ready.

–Bookmark the Wake Alert website

–Follow @WakeAlert on Twitter.  Emergency announcements that appear on the Wake Alert website will also appear on the Twitter account.

–Store the telephone number on your phones for the Wake Forest Weather/Emergency line, 336-758-5935.

–Connect your campus TV to the University cable TV system, which will broadcast emergency announcements to campus TVs.

–Visit the Wake Ready website and read the emergency preparedness and related information on it.

Wake Forest invites comments and suggestions regarding the Wake Alert and Wake Ready websites.  They should be directed to Kevin Cox at coxkp.  Cox is director of crisis communications and community relations.

 

 

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