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A range of threats – from hurricanes and flooding to wildfires – have long plagued institutional and commercial facilities. But only in the last decade or so have managers in these facilities had to contend with the possibility of attacks on their facilities that threaten the safety of occupants and visitors. Managers seeking to prepare their facilities for this possibility now have a new resource.
The International Code Council recently published the Building Safety and Security Report, which is intended to guide facility managers, architects, first responders, and local and state authorities in evaluating facilities, including schools, against potential targeted acts of violence. Increasing threats to safety such as outdated facilities and emergency situations have motivated state and local jurisdictions to develop legislation and policies to help protect the public.
The report will offer guidance on ways to do a building risk assessment, tips on building safety administration, advice on hardening facilities, and an overview of tactical considerations.
For example, on the subject of countermeasures against attacks, the report says, “Countermeasures need to be comprehensive and vetted by the project team. In all likelihood, there will be a mixture of high emotion and a sense of urgency which may result in building owners, facilities managers, and occupants sometimes taking matters into their own hands. No matter how well-meaning these actions may be, these stakeholders can inadvertently increase the risk of making emergency situations worse for building occupants and first-responders.”
The report recommends this: “A uniform list of potential safety and security countermeasures, concepts, construction materials or products and operational protocols should be developed that can be utilized as the basis of design best practices and assessment during planning and design. Such a list should be transparent, readily available and capable of being updated as countermeasures may change over time.
On the subject of training for facility managers, the report recommends, “Facility managers should receive condensed training similar to that received by a certified (building security and safety assessor). Such managers have a responsibility to ensure proper maintenance of safety and security devices and equipment as well as compliance with safety and security operational protocols. Further, facility managers and their staff have a responsibility to provide periodic site-specific orientation for first responders of high-occupancy or high-risk facilities under their purview.”
Dan Hounsell is senior editor of the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management.
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