Industry News




08/03/2010

Shelter in Place: When Staying Put is Your Best Option

By Michael Fickes

 
Shelter in Place: When Staying Put is Your Best Option

If an office building catches fire, the building management team or the security director will call for an evacuation. But what if spring weather produces a tornado? Instead of an evacuation, staying put or sheltering in place might make more sense.

“A tornado, a bomb threat in a nearby building, a chemical spill, an active shooter, or a terrorist hit that contaminates the area might call for sheltering-in-place,” says Geoff Craighead, CPP, a vice president with Universal Protection Service, a security services provider.

Depending on your location and the type of event, shelter in place plans will entail different responses. A property manager should consider a range of possibilities so their plan is comprehensive and easily deployable.

For example, “the earthquake threat on the west coast has led building managers and security directors to lay in supplies for two or three days,” says Craighead, a member of ASIS and author of High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety. “On the east coast, it would be unlikely for people to stay in a building beyond several hours — unless there is a serious terrorist incident.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a basic guide to sheltering in place at work. More specifically, the Willis Tower in Chicago has a comprehensive plan that serves as a preventative model.

The OSHA Plan

When a crisis occurs, first close the business or building. Invite customers and visitors to stay. If possible, have people call their emergency contacts to allay fears. Put up a voice mail message saying the business has closed but that staff and visitors are safely sheltered in the building.

Next, lock exterior doors, close windows and vents, and turn off mechanical systems. If the threat includes violent weather or an explosion, close the blinds and curtains and move away from the windows toward the interior of the building. If the event involves hazardous chemicals or biological substances, seal the windows, doors, and vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape.

Collect disaster supplies if you haven’t in advance: food, bottled water, battery-powered radios, first-aid supplies, flashlights, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and plastic garbage bags. Select a room with a hard wired telephone in case the crisis overwhelms the cellular networks.

OSHA also advises recording the names of those in the room and reporting the list to the building’s emergency coordinator. Such lists make it possible to reassure worried relatives.

The Willis Tower Plan

At 110 stories, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago is one of the tallest buildings in the world. It houses more than 100 tenants and 12,000 people work there.

“We have plans for tenants and for our people,” says Keith Kambic, director of security and life safety for U.S. Equities Asset Management, the Willis Tower property management firm. “The plans address severe weather, hazardous chemicals, and an active shooter, which has become a threat in U.S. office buildings.”

Kambic’s plan recommends that tenants store 48 to 72 hours of water and food plus cleaning supplies, plastic sheeting, flashlights and batteries, and other emergency tools. “We have collected these materials for our own people, along with cots and bedding” Kambic says. Willis Tower also houses restaurants and convenience stores that can supply food and other necessities should the need arise.

Shelter-in-place procedures vary with the event. For severe weather, a public address system announcement directs people away from the windows and toward the core of the building, typically into the freight elevator lobbies on each floor. On the other hand, if a shooter gets loose in the building, the announcement tells tenants to stay where they are and lock the doors.

“The best way to prepare to deal with a shooter is to talk to your police department and SWAT team,” Kambic says. “Everyone has different ways of handling these situations. To make sure we understand the approach here, we train annually with the police department’s SWAT team.”

Kambic goes on to note that the police or a SWAT team — not Willis Tower security officers — will interdict a shooter. “Our job is to provide directions around the building, deal with building systems, and provide support when we can,” he says.

Kambic drills his security staff regularly on shelter-in-place procedures. For instance, new control room operators practice making announcements for a shelter-in-place event. “We’ll go to an empty office and listen to the PA message,” he says. “Then we’ll help the operator refine the delivery. The goal is for the message to communicate a sense of confidence and calm.”

As an amenity for tenants, Kambic’s group offers business continuity and emergency management planning seminars. Kambic has also commissioned the production of a video and a web-based program that trains tenants in evacuation and shelter-in-place procedures.

“We also do monthly training sessions for new tenants and employees,” he says. “Last year, we hired an Atlanta company, Crisis Management International, to conduct a seminar — at our expense — for tenant HR managers and receptionists on the subject of recognizing the signs of a disgruntled employee or visitor.” It’s this type of early warning system that everyone hopes will prevent a problem that might eventually require tenants to shelter in place.

While not everyone needs a shelter-in-place plan, elements of the Willis Tower plan will work for any building. No matter what type of building you have, concludes Kambic, “The key is to be prepared.”

 


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality. 

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality. 

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


 
comments powered by Disqus
07/30/2015

Commercial and industrial customers find value in retail power choices.

07/29/2015

Survey shows large increase in EMS usage.

07/28/2015

Remediating abandoned facilities shown to improve surrounding area.

07/27/2015

Survey shows pests can decrease perceived value of hospitality facilities.

07/24/2015

Nearly 25% of workers don’t know proper safety procedures for emergency situations.

07/23/2015

Better Buildings Challenge to help FMs replace troffer fixtures for efficiency improvements.

07/22/2015

Environmentally friendly buildings can improve occupant wellbeing. 

07/21/2015

Performance ratings now available for thermal, weather, and air barriers.

07/20/2015

Survey finds over half of employees are frequently unhappy with office temperature.

07/17/2015

State stays on track to achieve greenhouse gas reduction target.

07/16/2015

Lighting, acoustics rated as top concerns.

07/15/2015

Study shows health risks to long periods of standing.

07/14/2015

Social media giant selects wind energy.

07/13/2015

Global capacity increases to 1,712 GW.

07/10/2015

Mass killings may inspire similar acts of violence.

07/09/2015

Regulation will reduce waste, improve use of sustainable products.

07/08/2015

Alternative certification path to improve sustainability in California buildings.

07/07/2015

Development could improve solar capacity, storage.

07/06/2015

Regulation will reduce GHG emissions, incentivize the use of greener refrigerants.

07/02/2015

Sustainable parking leaders recognized.

Page 1 of 55
FirstPrevious[1]2345678910NextLast

Sponsored Links