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 ark 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.

2 Replies

  • Hi Naomi, we are currently rated a disaster City and being in the organization and department who supplies and manages water supply. Having more insight as to what the general community has, it is scary to see the levels of the dams. Managing the facilities for the department also allows me to see first hand what the dams look like and the strain the mechanical equipment is taking.

    So this is quite the opposite you your disaster. Mine is Drought all the way.

    I was thinking if there is no water how will people survive, what about the children, what about companies, but what if every house how can catch their own rain water and treat it to the required standard to make drinkable. communities can feed to one another and also borehole can be used. households can start collecting and storing. I don't know its just a huge concern factor.

    currently, high levels are running around trying to find solutions.
  • In reply to llombard:

    Hi Llombard — Drought is certainly part of the resiliency conversation. What has surprised me is that in some jurisdictions in the US it's against the rules to catch rain water. That just blows my mind. What general area of the world are you in? Another thing I've been told is how drought is a concern for parts of the US you wouldn't have normally thought, where reservoirs only have a short supply on hand in the event rain stops falling. Promoting water efficiency, reusing grey water, managing storm water, that's all part of the conversation. Here's a recent article we did on water efficiency, in case it's of interest.
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