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Preparing for Emergency Communications Technical tools to facilitate communication during a crisis.

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Presentation on theme: "Preparing for Emergency Communications Technical tools to facilitate communication during a crisis."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparing for Emergency Communications Technical tools to facilitate communication during a crisis

2 Today’s Presentation About UVic Communication principles Technology principles

3 Today’s Presentation Implementations ‘Global menu’ ‘Lite’ emergency page Emergency Notification System Website publishing resiliency

4 Today’s Presentation Acknowledgements: Larry Hinkler AVP University Relations, Virginia Tech Chris Hawker Director, Centre for Risk, Resilience & Renewal, University of Canterbury (NZ)

5 About University of Victoria It’s lotus land

6 About University of Victoria

7 Hazards everywhere!

8 About University of Victoria Hazards everywhere!

9 About University of Victoria Hazards everywhere!

10 About University of Victoria Hazards everywhere!

11 About University of Victoria Hazards everywhere!

12 Common hazards

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17 UVic Emergency Planning Office Develop procedures & plans Emergency binder with contacts, instructions Coordination of learning opportunities

18 UVic Emergency Planning Office ‘Emergency Communications Committee’ Communications-specific discussion & guidance Participation in communications projects (e.g., major website redesigns)

19 Communication principles driving technical solutions

20 Openness, transparency In a crisis, communicate… as much as possible as quickly as possible what people should do to stay safe to inform audiences who really care

21 Technology principles driving implementation details

22 Simplicity Resiliency Redundancy

23 Emergency Communications at UVic

24 Website ‘Global menu’ ‘Lite’ emergency homepage Emergency Notification System Web publishing redundancy

25 UVic.ca Website Redesign (2012)

26 Communications objective: Provide consistent, deep links throughout UVic web space Alert audience to situations on campus (on all pages) Technical solution: Global “mega menu”

27 UVic.ca Website Redesign (2012) Global “mega menu”

28 UVic.ca global menu

29 UVic.ca Website Redesign (2012) Global “mega menu” Universal menu with deep links Top of the page Rolled up by default Space for notifications

30 UVic.ca Website Redesign (2012) Global “mega menu” PHP include in template Weather Snow in #YYJ Advisory Transit strike, paving Emergency Popped open displaying full message

31 UVic.ca global menu

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34 UVic.ca Website Redesign (2012)

35 Communications objective: Ensure that emergency messaging is highly available on the homepage Technical solution: Emergency, blog-style homepage

36 UVic.ca emergency homepage

37 Your emergency will go viral. Expect a month’s worth of traffic in a day Social Media – aka, rubber necking goes global… … while the people who really care can’t connect

38 UVic.ca emergency homepage Replace ‘promo’ homepage Blog style – updated often Pre-populated in CMS with placeholder text

39 UVic.ca emergency homepage Replace ‘promo’ homepage Little to no ‘processing’ (esp. back-end) Few/no images Lite JS library

40 UVic.ca emergency homepage

41 Emergency Notification System

42 Communications objectives: Alert campus community to hazardous situation Direct people how to act Technical solution: Emergency Notification System (ENS)

43 ENS Messages What is an extraordinarily simple communication medium that conveys information very clearly, concisely and completely? All at once it says… there is a fire drop what you’re doing get out of the building

44 ENS Messages ENS messages are slightly more informative than the red bells hanging on the wall

45 ENS Messages Alert the campus “There is a person with a gun.” “There is a gas leak.” “The XYZ building is on fire.”

46 ENS Messages Direct people how to stay safe “Leave campus.” “Barricade in place.” “Drop! Cover! Hold on!”

47 ENS Messages Inform people where to get more info “See for more about...”http://uvic.ca/emergency

48 ENS Messages Wrap it up. “It is safe to return.”

49 ENS Technology Communication channels Bulk to Exchange mailboxes Targeted to ‘preferred’ SMS message to ‘mobile’ phone

50 ENS Technology Communication channels VOIP phone screen VOIP phone speaker broadcast

51 ENS Technology Communication channels Twitter post Publish to web Consumable XHTML chunk Video display screens

52 ENS Technology Resiliency build & deploy as atomic web application Groovy/grails (not APEX) H2 database deploy to redundant servers… in redundant data centres

53 ENS Technology Interface simplicity used under extreme stress concise wording clear, action-oriented buttons “Send alerts now”

54 ENS Technology Interface simplicity pre-populated with ‘template’ messages “training” vs. “emergency” modes

55 ENS Technology Interface simplicity “Cherry blossom blizzard”

56 ENS Technology It is not… a bulk er a way to manage contacts an alternative to the telephone for news

57 ENS Technology It is… to help people stay safe “There is a gas leak. Evacuate and stay away from XYZ building.” “There was a gas leak.” (news) “There was a gas leak. You may still be able to smell gas, but the problem has been solved and it is safe. You can return to the XYZ building.”

58 ENS Technology It is… slightly more informative than the red bell on the wall [ difficult to test without actually ringing the bell ]

59 BCP for Communications Communications objective: In a crisis when our infrastructure is compromised, we must be able to continue to update the web. Technical solution: Off-site web hosting

60 A view into emergency communications planning discussions

61 “What if the web server dies?” “No problem, we have four of them.” “What if the data centre dies?” “No problem, we have two of them.”

62 A view into emergency communications planning discussions “What if both data centres die?” “We have a BCP Server at TRU (Kamloops).” Single VM for www at TRU Re-point DNS (scripted) index.php is ‘emergency’ blog style 404 page is index.php However…

63 A view into emergency communications planning discussions “If our data centres are down, so is our WCMS. How do we update the content to TRU?” “Hmm.” “Does the Director of Communications know how to code HTML and command-line sftp?” Enter Judy Steward from Western

64 Off-site CMS hosting Both UVic and Western use Cascade CMS Web-based interface “Push” CMS publishes via SFTP to web servers

65 Off-site CMS hosting Reciprocal emergency site CMS hosting Delegate admin & config Common end-user interface & workflow In-application authentication

66 A view into emergency communications planning discussions

67 “If our data centres are down, our internet connection probably is too. How will we connect to Western’s Cascade to update content?” “Hmm.” “We could ask Western to update the site for us.” Enter Judy Steward from Western

68 Off-site CMS hosting Phone call (land line, cell, satellite?) with request to update content Judy can login to Western’s CMS and publish to UVic’s emerg site at TRU

69 Start planning today

70 All I really need to know, I learned… … working at the help desk Logistics trump technology

71 Start planning today What room will be you Emergency Command Centre? Are its phone/network ports active now? Who has keys? Is it on the top floor? basement?

72 Start planning today What phone number should media/parents/first responders call? What phone number in on your homepage? Who answers that number?

73 Start planning today Practical logistical considerations for technology Who has access rights to emerg systems? Have they been trained? When was the last time they exercised? Where’s the how-to manual?

74 Start planning today Have difficult questions today – not during the event. What are the plausible hazards? What message and tone do we want to use to respond to them? What’s our template message for each hazard?

75 Start planning today Have difficult questions today – not during the event. Under which scenarios ‘Do we?’ or ‘Don’t we?’ declare an ‘emergency’? When does a general ‘advisory’ become an ‘emergency’? Threat to life & limb

76 Start planning today Ring the bells occasionally (but not too often) Emergency Preparedness Week (May 4 to 10, 2014) BC Shakeout [How do you get your students to pay attention?]

77 Conclusions In a crisis, communicate… as much as possible as quickly as possible what people should do to stay safe to inform audiences who really care

78 Conclusions To prepare to communicate in a crisis, build… simple interfaces to resilient systems that are deployed to redundant locations

79 Questions? David Shaykewich, UVic Judy Steward, Western


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