By Joe Oliveri, Vice President, General Manager, Johnson Controls’ Building Technologies & Solutions, North America
Being prepared is your best defense when it comes to the safety of your government facility.
Although every facility varies and many are bound by strict regulations, there are several things all facilities managers can do to help improve the safety of employees and visitors.
Following National Safety Month in June, it is a great time to reevaluate your safety and security protocols.
To get started, consider the following checklist with a few best practices all government facilities can implement to help better protect your facility and staff.
For the safety and well-being of the people involved, it’s important to have a response plan in place detailing the steps and procedures to take during an emergency such as a fire, severe weather or active shooter scenario.
Start by outlining the most appropriate responses depending on location and situation including evacuation routes and emergency exits.
Scheduling yearly security trainings and drills helps keep safety top of mind for all, not just those who work in security or operations.
It is also important to identify the weaknesses specific to your facility through a risk assessment, and take actionable steps to address them once uncovered.
This allows personnel to make more informed decisions about what actions should be taken to improve safety.
This knowledge can help personnel make decisions about the type of access control technology they need in place and where it should be located within the facility.
Having a clear line of communication is crucial in every emergency so it is important to think about mass notification as a comprehensive system rather than a singular solution.
Mass notification allows for the delivery of varied and customized communications to large groups of people sharing a commonality.
Although many people tend to associate mass notification with fire alarms and text message alerts, today’s systems can incorporate many other modes of communication from an email notification to strobe lights or automated phone calls, making it perfect for government facilities of all levels.
Emergency situations are stressful for everyone involved, having clear direction helps mitigate panic and better ensures the safety of everyone involved.
However, government facilities can face added challenges when it comes to communicating in the event of an emergency.
A courthouse and a military base will have different regulations around what knowledge can be shared, for instance, so it is important to consider how technology can be tailored for an individual facility’s unique needs.
Mass notification systems offer options from wide spread audio messaging to targeted text messaging sent to only approved personnel.
Fire and life safety systems require regular maintenance to ensure performance.
Opt for a licensed fire and life-safety inspector to oversee full system maintenance to guarantee you are up-to-code and meeting all regulations.
This third-party testing assures facility managers that their fire and life safety systems are in proper working order and can function in the event of an emergency.
Whether you oversee safety for a public government facility or a high security private one, checking off these four steps can greatly improve safety for all.
About the Author
As vice president and general manager, security, for Johnson Controls’ Building Technologies & Solutions, North America, Joe Oliveri manages the full P&L responsibility for the security business in the U.S. and Canada.
He also leads the company’s Advanced Integration Business and plays an integral role in the company’s network of security innovation programs, including centers in Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, Israel.
Joe holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.