Telgian’s April Musser recently shared her knowledge and provided expert insight with Campus Security & Life Safety magazine into the topic of constant change, which is pervasive on campus environments such as universities and colleges. The magazine provides industry-leading news to school districts, colleges and universities on vital topics such as, active shooters, incident response, fire and life safety, physical security and risk management.
According to Musser, the constantly evolving landscape of a campus means that, “risk control is not a ‘once and done’ effort concluded upon the opening and occupancy of a newly constructed or remodeled facility. In fact, changes to the landscape of risk happen often, even in the absence of such obvious modifications. Some changes happen so slowly and innocuously, such as changing research goals that result in different equipment or procedures, that only the most vigilant process would identify the resulting impact on facility risk. As a result, risk assessment studies, risk mitigation features, and emergency response preplanning require periodic review and update.”
The Campus Security & Life Safety article, The Constantly Changing Landscape of Risk in Campus Environments, also explores topics such as Construction, Renovation, and Additions, Changes in Use, and Security Threats, as well as the unpredictability of what she calls The People Factor. Musser says, “…populations in campus environments can drastically vary from day to day. Events such as graduations, concerts, and sporting events can introduce occupant load surges… facilities may host smaller events that were not designed for assembly use. Areas such as building atriums, vacant lecture halls or classrooms, or libraries may be used to host assemblies such as career fairs and networking events, for example. In a building not designed for assembly purposes, these gatherings could overload the available egress and the transient nature of attendees could compound the problem by filling the facility with those unfamiliar with alternative egress routes.”
In addition, Musser offers essential Best Practices for campus environments. “Due to of the constantly changing landscape of risk on a college or university campus, risk assessment and evaluation must be an ongoing process. Periodic audits and reviews of facility use, hazards, and security concerns are vital to ensure that the progress and change that is so prevalent in campus environments maintain the expected level of protection and risk mitigation,” she explains.
About the Author
April Musser, a certified professional engineer, is Southeast Regional Practice Leader of fire protection engineering for Telgian Engineering & Consulting (TEC). She has more than 15 years of experience in fire protection engineering and consulting, including code consulting and design. Musser has designed fire and life safety systems for large commercial and industrial facilities and has managed projects across a wide range of market segments across the Southeast and internationally. She has also presented at numerous well-known conferences including the NFPA Annual Meeting and Conference, SFPE Southeast Annual Fire Safety Conference and Georgia Fire Safety Symposium, and the Campus Fire Safety & Emergency Management Conference. In addition, Musser is the author of numerous articles on building fires and their impact on fire and building codes.