While most institutions now have a full crisis communication plan in place to allow their communications office to communicate with the emergency response team, the campus community, local entities, and the local media during a crisis, one particular contingency often goes missed: what if the crisis that occurs includes a sustained electrical outage? Your campus email, your emergency website, your institution's twitter feed, and many of the communications systems you would rely on in the event of a crisis will be unavailable to you in the event of a regional power loss (such as that seen, for instance, during Hurricane Katrina).
"It's so obvious that often we forget to ask it. If you can't send email, if you can't get people on the phone, if you were to abruptly lose your communications infrastructure, what would you do? I have seen some campuses drill an electrical outage for 15 minutes, but you really need to think about this with a long-term view. What if you have an electrical outage that lasts for a full day, or for several days?"
Cindy Lawson, DePaul University
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