Is Your Facility Resilient?

Did you know that the basic motivation behind life/safety codes is trying to make sure you don't die because of the building? In a fire, building properly to code will allow the occupants the time to escape, for example. Which is great. Not dying is great.

But what happens during the earthquake, the hurricane, the tornado? What happens afterwards, when there's no power or water, when the rest of your area's emergency resources are stretched thin, addressing myriad emergencies? Is your facility safe for re-entry? Is it operational? If you've thought beyond minimum code compliance and considered what it means to make your facility resilient, it might be.

One of my favorite examples of building in resilience is a regional emergency response command center that installed a boat launch on their roof. Today, on the face, it's a bit of a Noah's arc situation. But modeling for the region showed that a significant flood event was possible in the future and in such an emergency, maintaining access to that center and keeping it operational would be critical. There are less exotic examples of resilience — moving power generation equipment above the flood plane, installing operable windows to provide ventilation when there's no power, getting to know your neighbors.

There's a lot to consider in regards to resilience but experts recommend going at it little by little, building up your protection as you can. This Building Operating Management article goes over some steps to consider. You can also check out the U.S. Resiliency Council and their rating system for more ideas.

I'd love to know your strategies around resilience. Do you have a toolkit of resilience best practices you could share? Let me know in the comments below.

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