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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

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Patton College prepared for emergency situations

Evacuation drills strengthen safety preparedness


The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education and Human Services has strengthened its commitment to safety in the past two years and is the only college at Ohio University that conducts emergency evacuation drills.

The evacuation drills, which began in spring 2009, occur about four times each year. The Patton College works with the Environmental Health and Safety, and Safety and Risk Management departments to coordinate the drills. The drills exposed flaws in the building and evacuation process that were subsequently fixed.

"That's a big benefit of the drills, not just the practice, but being able to pinpoint areas that need improvement," said Aaron Dillon, who coordinates The Patton College's emergency procedures. "We find problems and fix them, which makes us better prepared in the event of an actual emergency."

Dillon devised The Patton College's evacuation system, which consists of 12 coordinators who are assigned to certain areas of McCracken Hall. These coordinators know who should be in their areas and therefore are able to conduct attendance at an evacuation. The coordinators meet with Dillon every quarter to review safety procedures, which include room-by-room evacuation steps for McCracken Hall.

Evacuation Coordinator Debra Fanning said she believes the drills have increased awareness about emergency procedures at The Patton College and that each drill has been taken more seriously and conducted more efficiently than the previous one.

With the emergency coordinators acting accountable for all occupants in the building, The Patton College boasts a safe environment that can respond well to emergency situations.

"The whole idea is to have a specific plan to make sure everyone is accounted for and knows what has to happen in an emergency," Dillon said. "By practicing, we feel we will be much more prepared in the event of an actual emergency situation."