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Get to know the drill! Participate in UCOP emergency activities

Did you participate in last week’s fire drill at the Franklin building? If you did, you know it took less than one hour and provided an opportunity for all UCOP staff to practice how to respond if a real emergency strikes.

The drill was an improvement over last year, said Fire Safety Director Matthew Leet. About 600 staff evacuated within seven minutes and quickly proceeded to the new safe relocation area in front of 500 12th St. Time from alarm to complete reoccupation was 50 minutes; that’s 14 minutes quicker than last year, which Leet achieved by, among other strategies, reoccupying two floors at a time.

If you didn’t participate in the drill, you apparently were not alone. Leet said he saw many OP staffers leaving the building before the alarm sounded because word of the drill leaked out early. So, despite overall successes, he didn’t meet what is always his top priority goal: 100 percent participation.

“There’s great value in knowing how to evacuate the building and how you will respond,” Leet said. “Fire safety is a shared responsibility, and participation is critical.” Drills don’t happen often enough to be a major inconvenience, he added, but those who don’t participate are missing a valuable opportunity to practice emergency response.

Anyone who doesn’t want to evacuate the building can stay in the area of safe refuge in the stairwells, which still gets people involved and increases their awareness of what happens during a drill or in case of a real emergency, Leet said.

Great ShakeOut Drill coming Oct. 18

We will all have another opportunity to practice building safety in the Great California ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake preparedness event that all UCOP buildings will observe on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m.

At 10:18 a.m., you will hear the drill announced in UCOP’s office locations. All employees are then asked to “drop, cover and hold on” for 60 seconds by dropping to the ground, taking cover under a sturdy table or desk, and holding on until the (imaginary, we hope) shaking stops. If there is no table or desk nearby, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.

Unlike a fire, evacuating the building during or after an earthquake may not be safe. Falling debris or glass can be dangerous, especially if the ground has not stopped shaking or if there are aftershocks. In any earthquake, wait for safety personnel to evaluate whether it’s safe to go outside.

Call for floor wardens in the Franklin building

Leet is recruiting additional floor wardens for the Franklin building team. Wardens are responsible for attending training and learning what to do in drills or real emergencies. They get to add a bright orange vest to their wardrobe and serve as extra “eyes and ears” around the building for anything out of the ordinary, like leaking pipes or malfunctioning light fixtures.

It’s a good way to get involved in the UCOP community, learn valuable information about safety and get free treats! Wardens meet twice yearly, and Leet always brings abundant supplies of sweet and salty snacks. If you are interested in being a floor warden, please contact him directly at or 510-587-6102.

You can find a wealth of emergency preparedness information online, including how to develop a disaster plan or disaster supply kit at work or at home. Go to the Personal Emergency Preparedness section of the UCOP Staff Emergency Preparedness webpage.


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