Emergencies may range from inclement weather, to building evacuations, to campus closures, and the university has a variety of tools to communicate with the public in the event of these and other possible emergencies. Depending on the type of emergency, we may use some or all of the following tools to communicate with faculty, staff and students:
- Siren System
- This system is tested around noon on the first Wednesday of every month, and delivers a siren warning and public address in the event of certain outdoor emergencies. Read more about the siren system.
- Emergency Web Site
- You may want to bookmark the emergency Web site because it is updated with information during actual emergencies or campus closures.
- Local Press and Social Media
- University Communications staff send emergency information to the press and update social media with public safety messages. Because of the transient nature of our population, the university depends a great deal on the press and social media to keep students, faculty, and staff informed during campus emergencies.
- Pager System
- Our campus first responders, resident advisors, and some building managers are part of the AWACS paging system. The pagers send text messages about emergencies on campus and alert city responders (APD, AFD, EMS, Office of Emergency Management, etc.) to campus crisis situations.
- Fire Panel Systems
- Residence halls are equipped with fire panel systems that have a public address capability. Resident advisors are trained to use these systems in emergencies in order to make announcements to the entire building regarding evacuation, shelter in place, etc.
- Text Alerts
- The university collects cell phone numbers from members of the campus community for emergency text messages. Sign up for campus text alerts online.
- University Group E-mail
- During emergencies, UT Safety Alert sends an “urgent” group e-mail to every student, faculty and staff member. The e-mail directs individuals to the emergency Web site for additional information and instruction.
- Voicemail to Office Telephones
- This tool leaves a voice message on every faculty and staff member’s office phone on campus.
- Telephone Tree
- The president’s office has a telephone tree of department contacts that is initiated during an emergency.
- Cable TV
- Residence halls and several of our public gathering places have cable televisions where emergency announcements get posted.
- Public Safety Patrol Car Announcements
- UTPD patrol cars are equipped with PA systems, which officers can use to provide instructions to pedestrians during emergencies.
- University Emergency Information Line — 512-232-9999
- Students, faculty, and staff can call this main number for information about campus closures.
The implementation of each tool described above is assigned to an individual who has at least two backups who can also carry out the communications task. Individuals with electronic communication tools assigned to them have remote access (from their homes, etc.) to those tools.
The police department and the associate vice president for Campus Safety and Security are typically the ones who deliver emergency information to university administration. Upon considering this information, administration develops the messages and activates campus-wide communications. The only exceptions to this are the sirens and pager system, which are activated directly by UTPD in extremely urgent situations where immediate action is required.