Emergency practice drills will help raise awareness, the emergency management coordinator said.
By Jennifer Luna
Eighty-four percent of students do not know where this college’s designated evacuation areas are, an informal survey by The Ranger showed.
Students were asked if they had seen the college safety plan and if they check ACES email.
The survey showed 94 percent of students have not seen the safety plan, and 6 percent of students say they recall seeing the safety plan in a student development class.
The plan explains evacuation procedures in case of an injury; fire; violence, such as an active shooter; bomb, or terrorist threat; and tornado.
In each situation besides tornado, the plan states to call 210-222-0911, the emergency line for the Alamo Colleges police department.
If a student tries to dial 911 for an emergency on campus, the San Antonio Police Department dispatcher will call the district police, Sgt. Mike Nemcic, support services supervisor, said.
Around every corner and near entrances there is a map of emergency exits and it has where the designated evacuation area is.
There are five designated evacuation areas: the designated evacuation areas are San Pedro Springs Park when by Loftin Student Center, chemistry and geology building, Gonzales Hall, Candler Physical Education Center, and McCreless Hall. Students need to evacuate to the VIA parking lot when by the tennis courts, Nail Technical Center, Oppenheimer Academic Center and Law Enforcement Center.
Evacuate to Crockett Park when near Chance Academic Center, science annex, continuing education portables, nursing complex, empowerment center and campus police. Evacuate to EcoCentro parking lot when by Fletcher Administration Center, Moody Learning Center and service trade and industry center. Evacuate to Catholic Charities when by early childhood studies, visual arts center and Travis Early College.
The survey also showed that 75 percent of students check ACES email every day, multiple times a day, or every other day.
An email was sent Feb. 12 to faculty and staff from this college’s public relations office about the emergency plan.
The email had links to both designated evacuation areas and the safety plan.
Emergency management Coordinator Patrick Tobin said he is developing outreach to make people more aware of emergency plans.
“Awareness is one of the biggest battles we fight all the time,” he said.
Tobin said a challenge was getting through “the buzz,” the media that surrounds students every day that makes them oblivious to messages around them.
In the next year to year and a half, he will be working on strategies to bring awareness in emergency situations.
Tobin has been the emergency management coordinator for Alamo Colleges for six months and has been in the profession for 35 years. Tobin attended Minot State University, at North Dakota and was CEO at Tao Emergency Management Consulting located at El Dorado, Calif. for 25 years.
Mike Legg, director of Enterprise Management, has been with the district for two years.
Legg said before he arrived to work for the district, the Alamo campuses did not have a set emergency plan.
Legg said the district was “kicking over rocks,” and realized there was a need for a full-time individual committed to the emergency plan specifically. This opened the door for Tobin. Legg said Tobin helps “push that rock over the hill.”
By the end of the year, Legg said the district would go to each campus to conduct fire drills in each building on the campus.
The fire drills will tell if everyone in the building was evacuated from the building, how fast students and employees were evacuated, and if the fire department is contacted.
Legg said this college was huge compared to other colleges in the district because of this college’s size, and capacity.
Because of this, Legg says it causes concern when doing drills, and completing the drills will take time.
Legg said because drills have not been performed in the past, involving this college’s employees will be challenging when taking part of these practice drills.
Legg mentioned action teams were going to be established.
In each building, there will be an action team leader to make sure everyone is evacuated from the building. On each floor, there will be another leader who will make sure each person is evacuated as well as in each classroom.
In 2014, Legg said there will be five practice drills, such as an active shooter drill, or what to do in severe weather.
“Once we do these drills, it will increase awareness,” said Legg. “It will be a major training component for us.”