Building safety measures look to prevent, assist in emergency situations

Evac chairs are located at the top of every major staircase.
Davy Mellado | The Scribe
Oct. 12, 2015

Rachel Librach
[email protected]

With emergency devices embedded throughout UCCS, Public Safety wants to ensure student safety in buildings during times of emergency.

These safety devices include sprinklers, smoke detectors, fire panels, fire extinguishers, automated external defibrillators, floor lighting and listed emergency procedures for varying life threatening situations.

Each year, UCCS buildings undergo a Community Crime Protection through Environmental Design evaluation that determines if there are any areas that can be improved.

“We do threat analyses on each building and try to find the best practice that will help us improve the safety of the building,” said Brian McPike, executive director of Public Safety.

“Preventing an accident may be as simple as installing more lighting in halls or parking garages, or as complex as moving an entire wall.”

All of the devices at UCCS are checked on a regular basis.

Each level of the parking garage has an emergency post.
Davy Mellado | The Scribe
McPike said a student employee with Emergency Management checks the fire extinguishers, AEDs, sprinkler valves and elevators on campus every month.

Emergency medical devices such as fume hoods, eye washers, emergency showers, sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are also located in laboratories and teaching facilities in the Centennial, Osborne and Engineering buildings.

Cynthia Norton, hazardous materials specialist for the environmental health and safety portion of Public Safety, said there are three types of hoods on campus including fume hoods, which are for chemical applications designed to protect people from the hazardous materials.

Along with their scheduled maintenance checks, the AEDs and hoods are located in electronic stations that alert Public Safety if anything is malfunctioning or needs to be replaced.

According to McPike, Public Safety sends out an alert if the devices are activated or taken out of their station. Police respondents are then dispatched to that location to assist in the situation.

McPike advises faculty, staff and students to use these safety features if they ever feel the situation calls for it. The AEDs contain straightforward and simple instructions with voice automated analysis to help people through the process.

“When you open the cover up, there’s an instruction packet right there and it really is ‘idiot proof,’ and I’m living proof of that,” McPike said.

When McPike worked at a previous police department, he responded to a call at a restaurant right after driving back from a serious accident.

“I wasn’t thinking. I ran into the restaurant, I didn’t have the defibrillator, I didn’t have anything with me, I just ran in. This guy is laying on the floor and everyone’s looking at me like, ‘what are you going to do?’” he recalled.

“First thing that came to mind was, I need to start CPR. And so, as I’m getting ready to start CPR, they bring out a defibrillator because thankfully they had one in the restaurant,” he said.