Maintenance's Role in Emergency Management
Terrorism, pandemic disease and natural disaster are terms Americans have come to know all too well. Because these threats are very real in today’s global society, disaster preparedness is a concept most organizations take seriously. But for building operations and maintenance, preparedness must be more than a concept. It should be a way of life.
Traditionally, maintenance and engineering departments have been responsible for the efficient and cost-effective operation of an organization’s facilities and physical plant. Managers measure their departments’ success by smooth operations and low utility costs. But in today’s world and economy, the ability to sustain services during disasters can separate the good managers from the great ones.
Maintenance and engineering departments are cornerstones of any organization’s ability to continue operating through a disaster and provide the foundation for a timely recovery. Managers are key leaders in any recovery effort, and their decision-making processes must include not only knowledge of the facility and its operations, but the ability to solve problems.
Careful planning in advance of an emergency gives an organization a far better chance to successfully survive a major storm or disaster. It also provides more and better services while reducing lost revenue and recovery costs. Defining the role and abilities of the maintenance and engineering department in emergency preparedness must start in the planning process, which helps avoid a reactionary, fix-the-problem approach.