Wake Alert upgrades for reliability

Wake Forest’s emergency website, Wake Alert, has a new look as the University takes steps intended to bolster the site’s ability to withstand heavy traffic in the event of an emergency.

The centerpiece of the University’s multi-faceted emergency alert system, http://wakealert.wfu.edu launched in March 2011 as a website designed to provide Reynolda Campus emergency alerts and updates. It is also used for weather-related campus schedule changes and closings.

In the past, Wake Alert also served as a constant resource for detailed information relating to emergency preparedness and proper responses, key university contacts in emergencies, crime prevention and safety tips, and news releases related to campus security matters. To streamline information in the event of an emergency, these resources are now found on a new website, Wake Ready (http://wakeready.wfu.edu).

The most critical, but less obvious, is an increase in Wake Alert’s 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. Such spikes, as other universities have learned, can disrupt access to important information during an emergency.

“Since its launch last year, the Wake Alert site has been a major addition to the extensive system the University has built to alert students, staff and faculty to incidents posing substantial risks to safety,” said Kenneth A. Zick, vice president and dean, student affairs, at Wake Forest.  “We’ve taken another important step now as we present a redesigned Wake Alert and put it in a position to better withstand heavy usage.”

The Wake Alert site is a critical piece of an extensive array of emergency alert methods known broadly as Wake Alert.  The site complements existing emergency text messaging, outdoor sirens across campus, and emergency alerts on the university’s cable TV system. During emergencies, Wake Forest also can send e-mails to faculty, staff and students, as well as voice mail messages to faculty and staff. In addition, voice mail messages can be posted on a phone line reserved for announcements about emergencies and weather-related closings and delays.

The university also incorporates social media into its emergency communications plan. Follow @WakeAlert on Twitter to receive timely updates.

The University invites comments and suggestions regarding the Wake Alert and Wake Ready websites. They should be directed to Kevin Cox at coxkp@nullwfu.edu.

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