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University Water Damage Preparedness and Education - part 2
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Devise an Emergency Plan
Planning for a water damage emergency should be part of the greater disaster preparedness plan of the university to ensure that actions are integrated into the institution's standard operating procedures. The plan should be comprehensive to include not only immediate emergency response but also long-term efforts for salvage and recovery. Also, the plan must be simple with easy-to-follow instructions since people in emergencies normally don't have the time or the mental clarity to process complex information. Additionally, an emergency plan should be flexible enough to deal with any other unforeseen detail.
Form a Team
It is also critical to the success of the plan to establish an emergency response team, identifying clearly who would be the chief decision maker, the head of the various activities, and the individuals (and their backups) who would carry out specific tasks.
Identify Available Resources
Identify and purchase the tools and supplies that are necessary for effective emergency response and salvage activities. These supplies should be stored in a clearly-marked and accessible location. In many cases, the emergency response team will also need external assistance to properly address water damage. Make sure to have a handy list of emergency contact information for local agencies (police, fire department, medical units).
Prepare a list of companies that provide technical assistance and emergency services, including water extraction, water damage cleanup and restoration. Research these service providers thoroughly and consider setting up a pre-incident arrangement with them so they will be in effect providing the university on-call or priority assistance.
Human safety should be the foremost priority of any emergency plan. Once safety issues are addressed, salvaging valuable records and equipment is the next consideration followed by salvaging university collections and then dealing with building rehabilitation. It is important to identify beforehand which documents, items and collections to be salvaged first.
Educate and Keep the Plan Updated
Make sure staff members are aware of the emergency plan and are trained on all emergency procedures. Conduct regular drills, which would also allow for the plan to be tested and improved. Copies of the emergency plan should be distributed in strategic locations and kept in waterproof containers. Lastly, ensure that the plan is periodically updated to keep names, contact information and all other information accurate.
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