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Building emergency coordinators increase emergency preparedness on campus


BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 7, 2011 – More than 175 staff and faculty from Blacksburg and other university operations across the commonwealth attended a workshop in August to learn how to increase emergency preparedness in the Virginia Tech community.

Through an initiative from the university’s Safety and Security Policy Committee, “building emergency coordinators” have been identified for all university buildings. Persons identified as a building emergency coordinator will be responsible for developing and updating a emergency action plan for their building and disseminating emergency preparedness information to building occupants.

The current roster of building emergency coordinators can be found online.

Building emergency coordinators will serve as a single point of contact and the link between first responders and building occupants during an emergency. They may be called upon to assist in the movement of people during a building evacuation or shelter-in-place situation.

“This program closes a gap between first responder agencies and the departments that occupy buildings,” said Michael J. Mulhare, Virginia Tech’s director of emergency management. “By identifying and training a single point of contact in each building, we are better prepared to handle localized emergencies.

“Emergency preparedness on campus is everyone’s responsibility,” added Mulhare. “Faculty, staff, and students should be aware of general emergency procedures in their buildings. Building occupants can review the emergency procedures in their departmental Emergency Action Plan or by contacting their building emergency coordinator.

Administered by Emergency Management, the building emergency coordinator program relies on support from several university departments, including Environmental Health and Safety, the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad, University ADA Services, Services for Students with Disabilities, Division of Student Affairs, and Virginia Tech Police.

Presentations from experts on safety and security, fire safety, emergency planning for individuals with disabilities, emergency communications, and office and family preparedness were given during the day-long program.

For more information, contact Matt Johnson at 540-231-5394 or visit the Emergency Management website.