Emergency Communication Tools

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:

Emergency Website

You may want to bookmark the emergency website because it is updated with information during actual emergencies or campus closures.

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.

The university’s emergency text messaging system is available for the use of current university students, faculty, and staff.  Individuals that do not meet these criteria are not eligible for this service. It is recommended that affiliates follow the University of Texas at Austin on Twitter @UTAustin or the University Police Department @UTAustinPolice to stay informed during an emergency.

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.

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.

Public Safety Patrol Car Announcements

UTPD patrol cars are equipped with PA systems, which officers can use to provide instructions to pedestrians during emergencies.

Local Media

The Office of Public Affairs sends press releases and makes calls to contacts on a local media list. Because of the transient nature of our population, the university depends a great deal on broadcast media to notify students, faculty, and staff of emergencies before or during their commutes.

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.

University Emergency Information Line: 512-471-3434

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.