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Governance and Compliance Division

 

Communicating messages in an emergency

It is essential to be able to communicate messages efficiently to staff in the event of an emergency.  The quickest method is to use a phone cascade, or ‘call-tree’, whereby the message is sent to key individuals, who then communicate with their teams who in turn communicate with further teams and so on. 

Communicating via mobile phones rather than land-line phones has the obvious advantage of people not having to be near desks to receive calls.  Mobile phone networks are also not impacted by any disruption to the University’s IT infrastructure and phone network.  Another advantage of mobiles is the ability to use platforms like WhatsApp to send messages to groups.  Consider setting up a WhatsApp group for the first tier that need to be contacted and test the system once it is in place.  Subsequent tiers can then set up and test their own groups.  Other platforms are available (at a cost) which enable direct alerts to large numbers of staff at once. 

However, any system is only as good as the contacts being up to date and all systems require initial collation and regular checking of contact numbers.  It’s also important not to rely on only one method of communication. If mobile networks are down, then a land-line call tree may provide back up.  A process for posting messages quickly on websites, display screens and through any local social media channels (particularly for contacting students), is also helpful.  In the worst case scenario when both phone and mobile networks and power are down, then basic notices on doors may be the only option.