Four unannounced safety drills planned for college

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Follow instructions of building action team members in an emergency, assistant coordinator advises.

By: Matthew Cuevas

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

This college will have four safety drills this academic year, but the drills will be considered “no notice ” and will not be announced beforehand, the assistant emergency response coordinator said Sept. 9.

Phil Strottner, assistant emergency response coordinator, is in charge of overseeing the campus’ emergency operating procedures.

Each of four zones on this campus will have a drill, he said. Two drills will be lockdown and two will be a combination of fire and reverse evacuations.

Every building on campus has a Building Action Team, or BAT, and their responsibility is to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff in case of an emergency.

Each member of the BAT has a specific duty. The person in charge of the team is the building coordinator. Remaining team members are floor captains, and assistant floor captains. These are faculty or staff who volunteer to help evacuate buildings or make sure occupants stay inside depending on the type of emergency.

The teams are drilled for four types of emergencies:

  • Lockdown — ensuring all the rooms in the building are locked, and lights are off.
  • Fire/reverse evacuation — evacuating everyone in the building safely outside in case of a fire, then in turn escorting everyone to the safety of a different building if need be.
  • Shelter in place — staying inside and letting in other students or members of faculty that may be stranded outside of a classroom.
  • Severe weather — guiding everyone to specific safe rooms in the center of the building away from windows.

Each building and BAT on campus is drilled once a year in a specific drill. The buildings are broken into four zones: northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest. So it takes four years for each building/zone to complete every drilling procedure.

FEMA or the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in charge of emergency operating procedures for colleges nationwide. The district, however, directly oversees the campus’s emergency plans and procedures.

So what should a student do in case of an actual emergency?

“What the students need to know is when they see the person with the red hat and the green vest coming, do what they tell them to do,” Strottner said. “That’s really the best information for the students.”

The emergency operating plan has been in affect since early 2013.

“I think we have a good plan,” he said. “Luckily we haven’t had any serious problems since we’ve had the plan.”

 

 

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