BSSR – FAQs

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Why does the University need BSSRs?

The University of Georgia (UGA) is committed to making the main campus and outlying facilities as safe as possible for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Many steps have been taken to enhance the institution’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities. Although UGA is fortunate to have a number of specialized units dedicated specifically to emergency preparedness and response, it is impossible for these departments to plan and respond to such a large and distributed campus without assistance at the building and individual level. Currently there are a multitude of campus partners (i.e. lab safety, health concerns officer, access control contacts, etc.) However, until now, these efforts have not been coordinated.  BSSRs serve as extensions of the existing preparedness response efforts at UGA. They help prepare the University to respond appropriately during emergencies. Having designated BSSRs will eliminate duplication of effort in building level planning and reduce confusion when an emergency occurs.

How does the BSSR designation differ from others such as the access control system building representative, building health and safety officer, or chair of the safety committee?

BSSRs will become the first point of contact regarding any safety and security activities for occupied University buildings. They will coordinate all safety and security responsibilities for their buildings and will engage as many existing players as necessary to ensure all building safety and security functions are handled. BSSRs should be able to contact the other safety team members and the dean or department head 24/7.

Who coordinates the BSSR program?

The Office of Emergency Preparedness coordinates the BSSR program. This includes orientation, training, maintaining contact information, maintaining training records and providing assistance with emergency plans, drills, and educational materials. Other emergency response units may also engage BSSRs in emergency planning, crime prevention, and other safety and security measures. These units include but are not limited to the UGA Police Department, Environmental Safety Division, Information Security, and BioSafety Office.

What is the role of Primary BSSRs?

BSSRs serve as the 24/7 emergency point of contact regarding safety and security issues affecting their building. A primary function is to develop-in conjunction with the Office of Emergency Preparedness-an emergency plan for their building. In the case of an actual emergency in their building, BSSRs will activate the emergency plan and serve as the primary point of contact for emergency personnel throughout the incident. They also organize the building safety and security team; execute and evaluate emergency drills; receive and monitor emergency communication from campus safety units; and disseminate relevant information throughout the building. BSSRs conduct-or coordinate-training related to emergency preparedness and response for students, faculty, and staff in their building. They coordinate all building safety and security actions through established administrative channels, including issues related to safety and health concerns, information security, and laboratory and other safety issues. BSSRs may also be asked to serve on campus-wide safety committees.

Who designates BSSRs?

Administrators (department heads, deans, or vice presidents) with authority over specific buildings designate BSSRs. When multiple departments occupy the same building, several administrators may collectively agree on the designation of the primary and backup BSSRs. Although it is possible to name multiple primary representatives for the same building, it is not recommended. There should be one lead person with multiple backups for each campus building whenever possible.

Who can be designated as a BSSR?

Individuals named as primary representatives should be in responsible positions that enable them to make administrative decisions for building occupants during a crisis situation (i.e. making emergency purchases, identifying critical operations within the building, meeting emergency responders on-site or providing information via phone as needed). Ideally, backup representatives will have similar decision-making authority. Of course, many decisions will be made by emergency managers or senior administrators based on circumstances; however, BSSRs should be comfortable in these decision-making roles as warranted. BSSRs should have access to all areas of the building or the ability to easily obtain this access in an emergency situation. They should have a thorough knowledge of the building including normal occupancy patterns, floor plans, building hazards, and access control systems. Most emergencies will require a building-level response rather than a departmental-level response; therefore, identifying appropriate representatives may require collaboration across departmental lines when multiple departments occupy the same building. Primary and backup BSSRs should be able to respond 24/7 as needed and should have access to 24/7 contact information for their department head, dean, or vice presidents.

What is the role of a Backup BSSR?

Backup BSSRs should be ready to step into the lead role any time the primary representative is unavailable. For this reason, backup BSSRs will attend orientation and training sessions offered to primary representatives. They will serve on the building safety and security team, assist in the development of building level emergency plans, and provide training and other services as needed to adequately prepare the building occupants for emergencies. The most significant distinction between the primary representative and a backup representative is that the primary representative is expected to lead the development of the building level planning and will be the first point of contact during an emergency situation.

How many backup BSSRs should be designated for each building?

Administrators can designate as many backup BSSRs as needed to provide adequate representation for all building occupants and to divide the work load. For example, a large campus building occupied by 10 separate departments may want to designate one primary representative for the building and at least one backup for each department. This will provide representation and work distribution among all departments but will allow for consistent emergency planning. All representatives would comprise the safety and security team.

What fiscal authority is needed by BSSRs?

BSSRs should be able to authorize (or quickly obtain approval for) expenditures related to securing the building, issuing Facilities Management work orders, meeting the immediate needs of displaced building occupants, and prioritizing security expenditures. Ideally, BSSRs will be able to authorize emergency purchases.

What is MyBEAP?

The MyBEAP is an online plan generator program that helps BSSRs create their Building Emergency Action Plan (BEAP).

If my building is occupied by multiple departments, and we select several primary BSSRs, how will we ensure a consistent building emergency plan?

Most emergencies will require a building-level response rather than a departmental-level response; therefore, identifying appropriate representatives may require collaboration across departmental lines when multiple departments occupy the same building. It is strongly recommended that each building designate only one primary representative and that this representative only serve in this role for one campus building. Both primary and backup BSSRs should be able to respond 24/7 as needed and should have access to 24/7 contact information for their department head, dean, or vice presidents. If you elect to designate multiple BSSRs for the same campus building, please contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at (706) 542-5845 for assistance.

Can I serve as the primary BSSR for multiple buildings?

Ideally, primary BSSRs should occupy the building they represent since they must be able to respond quickly to emergency situations occurring in the building. If you are designated to serve in this role for multiple buildings, you should develop a strong network of backup BSSRs in each building you represent. Please contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at (706) 542-5845 for assistance.

How much time will my participation as a BSSR consume?

Initially, BSSRs should allow time for an orientation session, then time for coordinating and creating the Building Emergency Action Plan (BEAP). After this initial period, your time investment will depend on the extent of time needed for testing your plan and educating the students and employees in your building.

Will I be expected to be on-site during every emergency?

No. Some emergencies will not require the presence of a BSSR. However, primary and backup BSSRs should coordinate their schedules so someone is on call 24/7.

What training will I receive and how will training records be maintained?

You will participate in an orientation session for all building safety and security representatives. This session will further explain your role and responsibilities. Additionally, you will participate in required National Incident Management System (NIMS) training. NIMS establishes a single, comprehensive approach to domestic incident management to ensure that all levels of government across the nation have the capability to work efficiently and effectively together using a national approach to domestic incident management. NIMS provides a consistent nationwide approach for federal, state and local governments to work together to prepare for, respond to and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of the cause, size or complexity, and provides for interoperability and compatibility among federal, state, and local capabilities. NIMS includes a core set of concepts, principles, terminology and technologies covering the Incident Command System, Unified Command, training, management of resources and reporting. During a campus emergency, UGA will follow NIMS guidelines for managing the event. Consequently, it will be necessary for all building level responders to be NIMS compliant.The Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness will maintain training records for BSSRs, including orientation training and NIMS training.

Are certain certifications required?

NIMS training and certification is required (see above). The basic courses are available online or through the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP). OEP will provide other training as necessary. Although not necessary, BSSRs may want to be certified in CPR and First Aid as well.

Will I receive flex time or extra compensation if I am called in during non-work hours?

If you are a non-exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (at UGA, most non-exempt employees are paid bi-weekly), you will be compensated at a rate of 1 1/2 times for any hours worked over 40 during the normal work week. This compensation could be in the form of overtime pay or compensatory time off. Exempt employees (typically paid monthly) should not expect additional compensation or flex time but may be granted time off at the discretion of their supervisor for actual time spent at the emergency scene after normal working hours.

Why isn’t my building reflected in the drop-down box on the electronic registration form?

Every attempt is made to identify and list campus buildings, but if you do not see your building listed, please contact OEP via email or call at (706) 542-5845 for further instructions.You will need to know the official building name in order to locate it from the drop down list. For example, the building commonly known as Boyd Grad Studies is actually the George H. Boyd Graduate Studies Research Center and consequently is found under the “G” listings rather than the “B” listings.

How will I be contacted in case of an emergency?

You will be contacted using the phone numbers listed in the emergency contact section of your BSSR registration information. If you have not already entered your emergency contact numbers, you may do so by updating your personal BSSR information by using your UGA MyId.

What should I do if I change departments or leave UGA?

Building Safety and Security Representatives are able to log in, using their “UGA MyID” to update personal or building information, delete a building or add a new building if their information or role as a BSSR changes. Simply log in to the BSSR link  and make any changes. The Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness will automatically be notified of your changes.  Also, remind your department head, dean, or vice president s/he should identify a replacement representative as soon as possible. If you are serving as the primary representative, for continuity, it may be best to elevate a backup representative to the primary role and designate another backup representative.

How will building occupants know who serves as their BSSR?

A list of registered BSSRs and their represented building, will be reflected on the BSSR Website.

Is there a checklist available that explains what steps the Building Safety and Security Representatives need to take in their role as a BSSR?

Yes, the Office of Emergency Preparedness has designed a checklist for new Building Safety and Security Representatives that provides a step-by-step listing of action items to help make the BSSR program easier to understand. The link to the checklist for new BSSRs is also available for downloading from the BSSR Overview section.

How does the UGAAlert fit into the BSSR program?

UGAAlert is designed to be a mass notification system to alert the UGA community when immediate action is required. BSSRs should make sure their information in UGAAlert is current so they will be notified if an emergency occurs. To review or update your UGAAlert information, go to http://ugaalert.uga.edu and click on the registration link (which is also used for updating your information). For detailed information about UGAAlert, please refer to the UGAAlert FAQ  or call the Office of Emergency Preparedness at (706)542-5845.

How long does a Primary or Backup BSSR serve?

The length of service is determined by the Dean, Director or Department Head who appoints the employee to serve as a BSSR for the building. OEP does not require BSSRs to serve for a defined term. However, BSSRs who leave the University or transition to another department in another building should coordinate with their appropriate supervisor to ensure they are removed as a  BSSR for their building and a new BSSR is selected.