Facility Dude

How to Prepare Facilities for Emergencies

By FacilityDude
Sep 18, 2013

Facilities Management

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Red emergency sign Natural disasters are unavoidable. At some point in time, facilities managers will face some sort of emergency situation in which their operations may be temporarily disrupted, according to FacilitiesNet. Even though a building may not be located in prime tornado zones or on a fault line, chances are they will eventually be met with power outages or equipment failures. In order to prepare for many of the problems that often follow in the wake of an emergency, maintenance managers should prepare themselves by developing plans that will help them bounce back from unfortunate events as soon as humanly possible.

FacilitiesNet explains that to ready themselves for any situation, management needs to assess and prioritize the operations within their facilities. By evaluating building functions and determining which are most crucial, managers can then target and isolate them. Once important systems are separated from accessory ones, managers can then take extra precautions to support only essential operations. This will help to ensure their facilities continue to run sufficiently after any kind of disaster.

Critical systems for maintenance managers to support

Generally speaking, almost all facilities depend on electricity. For this reason, managers need to be sure that their electrical systems are up-to-date and efficient, FacilitiesNet states. This can be accomplished by installing backup electrical sources, in case of potential power outages. Management may want to consider implementing multiple services, batteries or even their own generators so that buildings can continue to plug along while electricity is down everywhere else in their area.

Other priorities that facilities managers should look to are securing and emergency-proofing HVAC and communications systems. Unless buildings are located in paradise, they will need heating and cooling to continue on with their operations. Backing up these systems and checking them to make sure all the equipment involved is working correctly can reduce the risk of having them crash unexpectedly. Installing redundant cooling or heating units may be another option for facilities that rely heavily on these functions. Communications issues, on the other hand, can sometimes be fixed by bringing in two-way radios, allowing workers to keep in touch. 

Keeping staff on the same page

With preventive plans set up for all critical operations systems within a facility, managers should then make sure staff members are prepared for emergencies, PEMA reports. Management should inform facilities employees of their personal responsibilities if an emergency occurs. To be certain that everyone is aware of disaster procedures, managers should run regular drills, adjusting emergency plans as needed. In a system like MaintenanceEdge, emergency drills can be scheduled in Planned Maintenance to make sure staff is prepared for any situation. Creating Planned Maintenance inspections to ensure life safety equipment is working properly is another important aspect of any emergency preparedness plan. Well-trained staff members, properly maintained and functioning life safety equipment, as well as a sufficient inventory of emergency supplies are all important components of any effective emergency plan. MaintenanceEdge provides tools that will help facilities managers develop successful plans to address the needs that will most certainly arise whenever disaster strikes.

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