How Prepared Are You For the Next Campus Emergency?

Jake Young| May 24, 2017

Having Immediate Access to Facility Information Saves Lives

Just how ready is your school campus for the next emergency? Working closely with campus facilities over the years, we all know there should be well-thought out and practiced emergency plans. What I have found is how administrators and facility teams manage their important facility documentation is usually overlooked. The truth is how you manage your campus facility information can make the difference between life and death.

Floods, fires, earthquakes and other emergencies often catch facilities teams off guard. With mobile and technology options available today,  this is unacceptable. Administrators and facility teams must be completely prepared. If you don’t have immediate access to your emergency plans and contact information, evacuation routes, safe refuge areas, and Fire and Life Safety (FLS) plans, along with all your other critical documents, including your as-built plans with renovations, your campus is not ready for an emergency.

Active shooter cases: In active shooter situations, police arrive at the scene, check the perimeter, and ultimately go in the building without a floor plan—blind! Emergency responders must immediately assess the situation and devise a plan. The more time they spend trying to find information, the greater the risk for civilians and response teams. Searching through file cabinets and bins in remote locations is not an option when seconds matter.

Preparing Schools and Institutions for Emergencies

  • Fire emergencies: Fires are serious threats to the safety of building occupants and first responders, and they can result in significant property and human losses. Map out fire hydrants, exit routes, and the best point of entry for all buildings. Define the best locations for firemen to place their ladders.
  • Police Emergencies. Active shooter situations evolve rapidly and require immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to innocent victims. Ensure floor plans and as-builts are up-to-date and easily accessible. On average, facilities managers spend 1-2 hours searching for information each day. Identify all exits, stairwells and escalators. Have access to views of what the outside of buildings look like.
  • Floods and Water. Floods can have devastating consequences.  Keep up-to-date maps or diagrams of all pipelines. Add photos of all taps and shutoff valves to the maps with instructions on how to turn water off.
  • Response Plan. The first few minutes are crucial to any emergency. However, miscommunication is common between emergency teams, building managers and facilities teams. A response plan bridges the gaps and facilitates an action plan.

Read the full Campus Safety article with more best practices.

Learn more about how facility technology works to ensure the safety of campuses.

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