October 30, 2019

IT support, operations maintained despite UW-IT staff evacuation during major gas leak

Gas plumes rise up from a street on the University District

Despite a major gas leak on October 14 that shut down a portion of NE 45th street and closed buildings, information technology services and support to the UW community continued to operate smoothly.

UW-IT staff in the UW Tower and 4545 Building were among those evacuated in a 12-block zone after an excavator at a construction site struck a gas line shortly before 2 p.m. The incident happened in front of The Neptune theatre at Brooklyn Ave. NE and NE 45th Street.

UW-IT staff quickly set up phones, added an emergency message on the help line, and supported UW Alert email and text notifications to campus. They answered calls and email for IT support remotely, and continued to monitor and ensure systems, services and campus and regional networks operated smoothly, as they would have on-site. UW-IT supports the University 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“While we are committed to providing 24x7x365 operations and customer support, safety of our staff is paramount,” said Karalee Woody, assistant vice president of UW-IT’s Customer Service and Support. “Our IT staff rapidly implemented our emergency procedures for evacuation and continuity of operations and customer support. While we rarely need to use these procedures, it is wonderful to see how prepared and agile our staff are in these situations.”