Things to Know As You Do Your Plan
To plan effectively, everyone needs to know what to expect from other units and from the campus in the event of a disaster. The information which follows will help you develop your unit plan in coordination with others and take advantage of various campus resources. Please send an email to if you feel that information is missing or incomplete.
Departments with operational responsibilities should anticipate their need for goods or services in the event of a disaster and proactively enter into contracts so that they can fix prices and set clear expectations for response in the event that they need to engage these services quickly. The expectation is that these contracts would have no charge or a nominal administrative fee unless services were required. Contact information for the vendors of these contracts should be entered into Step 5 Tab E of the GT Ready system.
Emergency Contact Lists
Each department should establish and maintain an emergency call list which will enable them to contact all members of their department. Call lists should include mobile and home phone numbers and personal email address in addition to an individual’s GT phone number and email address. Emergency call lists should be uploaded -as related documents- to a department's continuity plan. We suggest that sensitive information, e.g. home address not be included.
Temporary/Alternate Work Locations
In the event that multiple departments have been displaced, it is unlikely that sufficient temporary space will be available for all staff. Therefore, it is important for departments to identify those staff who really need to be on campus and those with the equipment and Internet access which will enable them to work from home.
Information about your staff that can work from home should be entered into Step 5 Tab B of the GT Ready system. If you have a small unit, it may be easy to individually list the information about personnel who can work from home. If you have a large unit, that would be a huge task! One solution is to indicate what percentage of the staff can work from home and/or just list your key personnel. You could also create a database file with this information and upload it into the Document Summary tab of GT Ready.
Working from Home
Working from home is a powerful strategy for functioning during crisis. In practice, much remains to be done to develop this capability.
As you develop your continuity plan, think what your unit (or the campus) could do to increase the number of staff and faculty who could do at least part of their work from home. When some disruptive event befalls us, we'll need to have people working from home but we'd best learn how to do that now, not during the crisis. When planning for computer replacements, departments should ensure that staff who would need to work from home are assigned laptop computers.
Most Institute buildings have emergency power only to provide lighting for building evacuation and for life-safety systems such as fire alarms. Typically, this emergency power supply is of a limited duration, usually 90 minutes. A select number of Institute buildings have on-site emergency generators which provide emergency power for building life safety systems and fire pumps, as well as for other critical systems such as lab and animal care ventilation systems, outlet power for critical lab equipment such as research freezers and critical IT data systems.
Network & Phone Back Up Power
Individuals should expect that they will not have campus network/Internet access in the event of a campus-wide power outage. Even buildings with a dedicated generator may not have campus network/Internet access.
In the event of a campus-wide power outage, most Institute telephones have a minimum of 90 minutes back up power. The Institute voice mail system has back-up power so individuals will be able to retrieve their messages. Emergency phones should have continuous uptime.
The Payroll Office is prepared to keep issuing paychecks after major emergencies impacting GT. All campus departments should make every effort, in times of crisis, to process and report payroll data to the Payroll Office. Under a worst-case scenario, the Payroll Office is prepared to issue current payroll checks using the data from the prior pay period, with the understanding that corrections will be necessary when systems are back running. The Payroll Office will make every effort to meet payroll deadlines but there may be delays, depending on the severity of the crisis.
Direct deposit of paychecks is an important strategy in times of crisis. Depending on conditions, distribution of paper checks may encounter difficulties and delays. Presuming that the financial institutions are functioning, employees utilizing direct deposit will have a higher assurance of being paid on time. In view of this, it is recommended that all departments doing continuity planning include an action item to urge any faculty or staff still receiving paper checks to sign up for direct deposit.
The ability to make purchases quickly and easily post-disaster is essential for every department’s recovery. Following any major disruptive event, the Purchasing Department will proactively inform the campus about the status of purchasing systems.
To the extent that systems are operating normally, the normal procurement policies, procedures, and restrictions will continue to apply. To the extent that systems are not working, the Purchasing Department will rely on expanding the use of the PCard. All departments on campus should examine PCard capacity including ensuring sufficient staff with PCards to cope when some are absent. All campus departments must be reminded that even during times of crisis, proper record-keeping for PCard purchases must be continued.
The Purchasing Department will also be prepared to manually issue purchase orders and emergency purchase order numbers.
Alternative Meeting Locations for Classes
In the event that one or more classroom buildings is not accessible for an extended period of time, alternative class meeting locations will be assigned by the Registrar's Office in consultation with the Office of the Provost. These decisions will be guided by the following principles, in the order listed:
- Find alternative instructional spaces in the current inventory including academic department instructional spaces suitable for existing enrollments in the courses affected with minimal disruption to currently scheduled time slots.
- In cases where suitable alternative instructional spaces are not able to be identified, designate some university-owned, non-instructional spaces that can be utilized and in which facilities/media services can be provisioned on a temporary basis to ensure that instruction can continue with minimal interruption. This may require that some spaces currently designated as event space be utilized which could in turn have an effect on previously booked events.
- If number 1 and number 2 do not suffice to serve the needs of the affected courses, the Institute may need to seek out temporary rental/lease spaces, non-Institute owned, to account for the gap in space availability OR alter the existing scheduled time slots of affected/unaccounted courses to times in which Institute-owned space is available.
In all cases, particularly #3, changing class meeting locations will require constant communication to the affected academic department chairs, managers, and the faculty involved as to time frame to implement changes, ultimate location/schedule changes, and duration of the change.