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March 17, 2014

Six ways to improve your safety

This is part of a series of articles discussing safety and security for the Purdue West Lafayette campus.

1. Get to know your building deputy. Most of us get to know the building deputy when we lose money in the vending machine, lock ourselves out of our office or hunt for the lost and found. While building deputies can help with all these needs, their most important job is safety. They usually are responsible for writing each building's emergency plan.

2. Read your Building Emergency Plan. Purdue requires a plan for every building of 10 or more people. Where should you go when a tornado threatens (a shelter-in-place location on the lowest level away from glass and doors)? Where should I shelter (a safe room or area that can be locked or barricaded) for a civil disturbance such as a shooting incident?  Where should you reassemble after you evacuate the building for a fire alarm (emergency assembly area)? Where is the list of your building's critical operations, such as potentially hazardous operations that require preplanning for evacuation? It's all in the Building Emergency Plan. Ask your building deputy for a copy.

3. Check out your Building Safety Committee and/or Department Safety Committee. These volunteers coordinate safety and consider what unique challenges your building and the people in it present. They also provide a forum for employees to identify and discuss safety or environmental concerns. Many buildings and departments have these committees. If yours doesn't, think about forming one.

4. Ask your safety committee for a drill. Try starting with the Purdue tornado drill at 10:15 a.m. March 20. Don't just listen to the sirens. Practice. Get everyone into the building's designated safe location. Is it large enough? Is there Internet access? Is the WiFi signal strong? Does someone have a weather radio?

5. Do your homework. Check out the Campus Emergency Preparedness and Procedures Planning website at http://www.purdue.edu/emergency_preparedness

6. Sign up for an All Hazards Awareness Training Session. The training will provide reminders on what constitutes an all-hazards emergency event and how faculty, staff and students in the classroom or elsewhere on campus should react in such a situation. Emergency preparedness officials will explain how the campus community receives emergency notifications through the multilayered Purdue Alert system, what "shelter in place" means and how to respond when they see the phrase in alerts sent out; evacuation procedures; what they can do to prepare; and available tools and resources. Sign up at https://www.itap.purdue.edu/apps/training/physicalfacilities/training.