Spread out across more than 200 buildings on campus is a committed group of Virginia Tech employees working diligently to keep the campus community safe.

A force multiplier for campus safety and preparation, the Building Emergency Coordinator (BEC) program was established in 2011 by Virginia Tech Emergency Management to coordinate the emergency preparedness and planning efforts among all university buildings.

Many campus buildings are occupied by multiple departments, making building-wide communications and coordination difficult during normal operations, let alone during an emergency. The BEC program serves to assist building occupants, first responders, and Emergency Management by developing a common building-specific plan of action for life safety emergencies and developing a common, building-wide plan of action for emergencies that threaten life safety.

During a building evacuation, the Virginia Tech Police Department, Virginia Tech Rescue Squad, and Blacksburg Fire Department may look to the BEC to provide a conduit for communication. BECs work with Emergency Management to develop, implement, and disseminate emergency preparedness plans throughout their buildings.

Each summer, BECs come together for a full schedule of training and networking during the Annual Building Emergency Coordinators Symposium. This June, the symposium highlighted important topics such as special event emergency plans, unmanned aerial vehicle safety, emergency medical services (EMS) on campus, and campus emergency communications (VT Alerts). The symposium was keynoted by presenter Ron Swartz, University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) emergency manager, who spoke about how UAA responded to the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that impacted southcentral Alaska in 2018.

BECs also participate in quarterly continuing education series and ongoing trainings throughout the year.

“The Building Emergency Coordinator Program is vital to Virginia Tech’s emergency preparation and response. The dedicated coordinators exemplify the Ut Prosim spirit throughout their efforts,” said Peter McCann, emergency planner.

For information on Virginia Tech’s Building Emergency Coordinator program, contact Emergency Management at 540-231-4873 or oem@vt.edu.

Share this story