Bellevue College Revives Safety Leads Program to Bolster Campus Emergency Preparedness

Abigail Elperin // The Watchdog

The Safety Leads Program has recently been revitalized at Bellevue College after a pandemic-motivated hiatus. Reinstituted in January of 2023, the program aims to “prepare for upcoming emergencies,” as reported by an  FYI Newsletter. The program consists of staff member representatives from each building. BC’s Emergency Operations Manager Jason Koenig says, “We currently have 32 Safety Leads.  Employees and Faculty volunteer for this role. Their participation does require authorization from their supervisor.  They complete emergency preparedness training, CPR/First Aid/AED/Narcan, and Stop the Bleed training.” 

A safety lead may play many roles in an emergency, but the underlying goal is that “their communication, guidance and direction to those evacuating their building allow for first responders to focus their attention resolving the emergency,” says the FYI. In the past, “Safety Leads have assisted with campus-wide fire drills. They assist with the evacuation of the buildings and direct building occupants to the designated evacuation zones. They provide guidance and direction to those in their assigned buildings. They are prepared with emergency supplies and training that will allow them to provide assistance if minor injuries occur in an emergency,” says Koenig. He continues, “[a main goal of the program is] to provide on-site support to Public Safety when an emergency occurs on campus. This support is provided by observing, reporting and providing guidance and direction to others within the impacted area as assigned by Public Safety Emergency Management.” Other goals include “training and preparing Safety Leads for responding in various emergency situations in a manner that provides guidance and direction to students, staff, and faculty, promoting emergency preparedness, providing each BC building emergency and evacuation trained representation and support, and lastly, conducting regular tabletop exercises that will provide Safety Leads with the opportunity to discuss and prepare for various emergency scenarios.” 

Safety Leads are a truly invaluable group of individuals on campus, graciously donating time and effort to ensure that emergency scenarios can be dealt with as effectively as possible. The program is currently looking for more staff and faculty members to join. The goal is to have 2-4 Safety Leads per building to accommodate work schedules and ensure that a safety lead can be on-site in every building for as much time as possible. If you or someone you know is a BC staff member interested in training in emergency preparedness and serving their community, email Jason.koenig@bellevuecollege.edu with your first and last name, building, and room/office number. 

Abigail Elperin // The Watchdog
Abigail Elperin // The Watchdog

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