Launch: Department of Emergency Management
We recently launched the Department of Emergency Management’s (DEM) website. The Department of Emergency Management works to avoid, plan and prepare for emergencies; educate the FIU community about preparedness; coordinate an emergency response and recovery efforts and collect and disseminate critical information.
Since the department is crucial to emergency planning and preparedness, it was important for us to showcase the FIU Emergency Alerts system, which the department manages. FIU Alerts is a notification system that will notify users of emergencies occurring near or on the FIU campuses via text messages.
The site prominently features the alert system and helps visitors register their phones.
Another important feature of the site is the Local Weather Alerts. Since South Florida faces a yearly hurricane season as well as other less predictable weather events, the Department of Emergency Management asked us to pull extreme weather alert data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and show them in an accessible manner to visitors. We did this by parsing and formatting NOAA’s weather feeds in presentable and easy to read module on the DEM webpage.
The DEM site also features resources for learning about various types of emergencies and emergency management information.
Developing the Site
The DEM site was constructed in Hannon Hill’s Cascade Server, which allows the department to easily update the site without having to deal with coding.
When developing the site, I created a new feature that allow DEM staff to update their top navigation bar with even greater ease—a Top Menu Creator. Traditionally, users would have to select which pages would appear on the top menu by clicking a check box on each page. This can become tedious when there are many pages. The Top Menu Creator is essentially a control panel from which one can choose the pages to show up in the top menu from one location.
Developing the local weather alerts also demonstrates the flexibility of Cascade Server as a CMS. It allowed us to pull XML feeds from NOAA, parse them, and then present them beautifully.
Developing the Department of Emergency Management’s site was an important additional to the large portfolio of sites built by FIU’s Web Communications team because it allowed for critically important emergency management information, alerts and updates to be publicly displayed in a easily digestible and accessible manner, which directly aligns with the department’s mission.
FIU Web Communications is a full service web team that provides support and consulting for departments at FIU. If you need help in implementing any of your web needs, please contact us.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing via rss feed or email to have future articles delivered to you.