Charlyn Loera

If a disaster affects the University of Pittsburgh's campus — whether human-made or natural — its ability to recover and continue operations will depend largely on how well each unit is prepared for such an event.

If a building is no longer usable, where will faculty and staff work? Where will classes take place? What technology needs to be replaced? Who will reorder supplies? Who should be contacted in case of such an emergency?

Those are examples of questions each unit must ask itself and get answered, and do so before a crisis hits.

At the University of Pittsburgh, those plans are managed by a web-based system called UPitt Ready, and UPitt Ready is managed by Charlyn (pronounced "Shar-Leen") Loera, the business continuity manager in the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management.

"UPitt Ready is important because it helps departments to begin an important conversation about resiliency," she said. "I think the COVID-19 pandemic was a good example of how everyday operations can change overnight."

The goal of UPitt Ready, she said, "is to have a framework for protocol during a disaster. I see UPitt Ready as another tool in the toolbox to help departments feel more comfortable in a turbulent situation."

Before accepting her new role, Loera served Pitt as the Building Safety Concierge Program Coordinator, in which she was responsible for coordinating approximately 275 student employees who monitored building access and safety protocols at 35 locations on the Oakland campus.

"It was a great opportunity," said Loera, an El Paso, Texas, native who holds a history degree from the University of Texas in Austin. "I got to work with many departments on campus and help troubleshoot issues."

That skill-set serves her well in her new role, in which she helps schools, offices, and departments plan for worst-case scenarios. Since each unit has its own needs and challenges, business continuity plans are tailored specifically for them.

"The immediate goal for UPitt Ready is to start a conversation with all the schools and departments on campus so we can identify a course of action," said Loera. "The process varies by school and department, with each having unique issues to consider. The long-term goals would be to have a clear and robust plan to assist a department in any scenario. They would have a resource which could help guide them."

To get started on your continuity plan or to report a problem with your existing plan, please email Loera at