Lite But Not Slight: College Emergency Page in Action

August 20, 2008

If you visited the Buffalo State Web site yesterday any time between 11:00 a.m. and noon, you may have noticed something very different about the look of the homepage. Well, that was exactly the point!

In case you missed it:


emergencypagesmall.jpg

We chose the occasion of the University Police Department’s Emergency Response Training (ERT) exercise to try out the college’s emergency “lite” Web page. I’m proud to report that the test went off without a hitch.

The college has had an emergency Web notification system in place for many years, but the lite Web page is something the team has been working on for the past few months. What is it? Put simply, it is a no-frills method of presenting important information on the Web during a crisis.

Back in October, members of the Web team attended the HighEdWebDev conference in Rochester. Michael Dame, director of Web communications at Virginia Tech, delivered a presentation on crisis communications that was both moving and alarming. Dame’s lecture provided the inspiration for the design and development of this page.

In the event of an emergency, the regular Buffalo State homepage would be exchanged with this streamlined page which provides brief, time-stamped news entries and safety instructions. By including few graphics and no database pulls, there is less stress on the server in the event of a sudden spike in Web traffic. This ensures that the site stays up and that critical information can be updated.

All in all, the exercise was a complete success and campus got its first (and hopefully last) glimpse of the emergency page.

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