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Emergency Evacuation Plan

for the Maine State House

Maine Legislative Council

State House Facilities Committee

 

March 2008 Revision

Table of Contents

I.                   INTRODUCTION.. 3

II.                  PLAN OBJECTIVES. 3

III.                INCIDENTS REQUIRING COMPLETE BUILDING EVACUATION.. 4

IV.                INCIDENTS REQUIRING PARTIAL EVACUATION OR LOCKDOWN.. 4

V.                 LOCATION OF EXITS. 4

VI.                PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING AN EMERGENCY SITUATION.. 6

VII.               EVACUATION AND INCIDENT MANAGEMENT. 7

VIII.              TERMINATION/CONTINUATION OF EVENT. 9

IX.                EVACUATION DRILLS. 9

X.                 PERIODIC REVIEW OF PLAN.. 10

  

STATE HOUSE

BUILDING EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLAN

            This plan describes the procedures for full or partial evacuation of the Maine State House in the event of an emergency within the State House or in the immediate vicinity of the State House.

I. INTRODUCTION

            For the purposes of this plan, the terms “complete evacuation” or “partial evacuation” applies to emergency situations occurring within the State House and that require the immediate exit of all persons from the State House to designated meeting areas, in accordance with this plan.  The term “lock-down” applies to an emergency situation in the immediate outside vicinity of the State House and may include a full or partial lock-down of the State House to protect the safety of the State House occupants from the outside emergency situation.  In any lock-down event, the Executive Director of the Legislative Council, Chief of Capitol Security or the Senior Group Leaders will provide occupants of the State House instructions in an appropriate manner.

 

II.    PLAN OBJECTIVES

 

In the event of an emergency inside the State House, all occupants of the State House may need to be evacuated from the building in a rapid and safe manner.

In the event of an emergency outside of the State House, the proper course of action will be taken to promptly protect the occupants of the building from harm and to secure (lock-down) the building.

            Goals.  This plan is intended to achieve the following goals.

A.     The protection of the life and safety of individuals is the paramount goal. 

B.     All exits will be kept fully operational and clear of obstructions in all weather conditions.

C.     Fire escapes will meet all applicable safety codes and will be used as backup routes of egress.

D.     State House personnel will be identified to perform various functions during an emergency and provided with the appropriate training.

E.      State House personnel taking part in the functions described in this plan will take no actions that place their personal safety in jeopardy.

III.       INCIDENTS REQUIRING COMPLETE BUILDING EVACUATION

            The following are examples of emergencies that may require the immediate and complete evacuation of the State House, in accordance with this plan:

·        Smoke or fire;

·        Chemical or gas leak or spill inside the State House;

·        Terrorist or bomb threat/detonation;

·        Civil disturbance; or

·        Earthquake

IV.        INCIDENTS REQUIRING PARTIAL EVACUATION OR LOCKDOWN

            The following are examples of emergencies that may require partial evacuation of the State House or a full or partial lock-down of the State House to protect the safety of the State House occupants from the outside emergency situation:

·        Unauthorized presence or discharge of weapons in the immediate vicinity of the State House;

·        Chemical/gas leak or spill in the immediate vicinity of the State House;

·        Civil disturbance in the immediate vicinity of the State House;

·        Law enforcement activity in the immediate vicinity of the State House in response to terrorism or civil disturbance.      

V.           LOCATION OF EXITS

On a busy day there may be over 800 people in the State House, including members of the Legislature, the Governor, State employees, large groups of school children, members of the public, lobbyists and others.  Awareness of all exits from the State House and any congestion issues that may pertain to those exits is important, since many people in the State House on any day, particularly visitors, may be unfamiliar with the layout of the building and specific evacuation plans. 

There are six primary exits from the State House immediately to ground level:

First Floor.  There are four exits on the first floor of the State House:

·        (1W) the West side main entrance (handicap accessible);

·        (1H) the service entrance on the north side of the West Wing (handicap accessible) (not recommended for use during emergency evacuation procedures unless absolutely necessary);

·        (1S) the South Wing Exit (stairs) that faces the legislative parking area, lot C and the Cultural Building, and

·        (1N) the North Wing (stairs) that faces the Blaine House.

Second Floor.  There are two exits on the second floor of the State House: 

·        (2E) The East side entrance (stairs) facing Capitol Park; and

·        (2N) The “Governor’s Entrance” (stairs) on the north side of the West Wing.

The appropriate use of these exits is explained in the table titled “Evacuation Routes” presented in this document. 

Third Floor.  There are no direct exits to ground elevation from the third floor.  Exiting the third floor requires traveling to lower elevations using either the north, south or west wing stairways or, if necessary, the outside fire escapes, as further described in this plan.

Fourth Floor.  There are no direct exits to ground elevation from the fourth floor.  Exiting the fourth floor requires traveling to lower elevations using either the north or the south stairways or, if necessary, the outside fire escapes, as further described in this plan.

Fifth Floor.  Access to the fifth floor is restricted to maintenance and other authorized personnel.  It is not open to the public, legislators or most staff. There are no direct exits to ground elevation from the fifth floor.  Exiting the fifth floor requires traveling to lower elevations using one of 2 stairways to the fourth floor.

            Potential congestion issues around exits.

·        The two handicap-accessible entrances to the State House, (1W) and (1H), lead to areas that may be used by emergency responders and their vehicles. 

·        The “Governor’s Entrance” on the second floor (2N) also leads to an area that will be used by emergency responders and emergency vehicles.

·        The north parking lot adjacent to the Governor’s Entrance (2N) is the only area allowing ready access to the building for heavy equipment.  This area must be kept clear for responding personnel and emergency response equipment.  Those evacuating the building must make every effort to keep out of this area and to stay clear of responding emergency vehicles.

FIRE ESCAPES

            There are three outside fire escapes available for use when the primary exits are not useable.  Fire escapes should be use only when there is no other safe option of exiting the building.  Examples of this include smoke conditions, visible flame, fire blocked exits and sprinkler activation.

            The fire escapes are located in the North Wing, South Wing, and West Wing.  Rooms on each floor that provide access to the fire escapes are indicated with lighted EXIT signs.  Hallway doors to the rooms with fire escape access are not locked.  Access to the outside fire escapes is as follows:

§         Second Floor:         Rooms 200 (Law Library), 226 (OFPR) and Governor’s office (restricted                                     access)

§         Third Floor:            House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Room 300 (Clerk’s office mezzanine),                                       Room 332 (House Minority Office)

§         Fourth Floor:          House Gallery, Room 424 (Senate President’s staff office) and Room 436                                       (CRJ Committee)

ELEVATORS

            Elevators do not operate during a fire alarm.  Upon activation of the alarm, the elevator cars will immediately will travel to the ground floor and remain there with the doors open.

SAFE HARBOR

             Because the State House is equipped with a smoke detection and fire suppression system, the entire building is considered a “safe harbor” under applicable fire codes.  Even so, several rooms on upper floors of the building are designated in this plan as a “safe harbor” and may be used in the event of an emergency to hold people who are unable to easily navigate stairways until response personnel can assist in their evacuation from the building.  These rooms are:  For 4th floor, Room 424 (Senate President’s staff office); for the 3rd floor: Room 324 (Senate Majority Leader’s office); and for the 2nd floor: Room 226 (OFPR).

VI.        PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING AN EMERGENCY SITUATION

Employee.  If an employee discovers an emergency situation, that person must dial 911 (state phone) or 911 (cell or public phone) immediately to report the incident.  The person must then notify his or her supervisor and, if time permits, the Office of the Executive Director at 287-1615.  If the emergency warrants, e.g., in the case of fire, the person should pull the nearest fire alarm box.  If none of those options are available, the employee must notify the Building Control Center at 287-4154.

Supervisor.  When a supervisor is notified by any person that an emergency situation exists in the State House, the supervisor must confirm that 911 has been notified and, if appropriate,  that a fire alarm has been activated.  The supervisor must then immediately contact the Executive Director at 287-1615 and brief the director on the situation, site, and actions taken.

Executive Director.  Once notified of an emergency situation, the Executive Director or the Executive Director’s designee must notify the Chief of Capitol Security and, if time permits, the Governor’s Office, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House. The Executive Director may activate the emergency plan or consult first with Legislative Leadership and Capitol Security, depending on the urgency of the situation.       

VII.           EVACUATION AND INCIDENT MANAGEMENT

The State House Emergency Team is comprised of the Senior Group Leader, Group Leaders, Office Captains, Emergency Wardens, Special Needs Buddies, and Capitol Security.  (See Attachment 3).  The Senior Group Leader is responsible for the overall coordination and communications within the Legislature during an incident.  The Chief of Capitol Security will ordinarily direct evacuation activities if an officer is in the building; however, that is not always possible.  Group Leaders report directly to the Senior Group Leader who report to the Executive Director.  Emergency Wardens and Office Captains report to their Group Leaders. Buddies report to their Emergency Warden.  Capitol Security works closely with the Senior Group Leader and the response agencies.  Team members should wear legislature-issued vests during an emergency to visually identify themselves as emergency team members.

During an evacuation, the Senior Group Leader remains available for consultations with the Incident Commander (the Chief Responder on scene) and Capitol Security.  The Senior Group Leader keeps in contact with Group Leaders and Leadership regarding the changing situation, and necessary decisions to be made involving the business and staffing of the Capitol. Capitol Security and the Executive Director will advise Legislative Leadership as necessary.  The Building Control Center in the Cross Building will remain in operation as long as possible since it includes all communications equipment and keys to both buildings.  The Incident Commander establishes the Command Post.  As the situation requires, the Senior Group Leader may evacuate to the Building Control Center or to an evacuation site as long as he or she stays in contact with necessary parties and the Incident Commander or his or her designee.

            Initial Command Post.  The Initial Command Post will be located in the parking area immediately adjacent the Governor’s Entrance on the north-west side of the State House.  Based on the situation, the Command Post may be relocated as needed.

Group Leaders.  Group Leaders meet with their groups at the evacuation destination for a head count, to record reports from emergency wardens and office captains as received, and note any problems or concerns.  They frequently report these items to the Senior Group Leader using a messenger if necessary.  Group Leaders remain in charge of their groups until the emergency is discontinued.  The Senior Group Leaders will wear yellow vests. 

Office Captains.  Office Captains evacuate with their own office and must account for individuals of their particular office group.  Concerns and discrepancies are reported to the respective Group Leader immediately. 

Emergency Wardens.  Emergency Wardens begin at their respective ends of the hallway and check every office, restroom and lounge (including those in the West Wing) to ensure they are vacated.  They report to their Group Leaders on the completion of their evacuation assignments, noting any problems or unusual incidents.  There are two 2-person teams, one team from both the north and south wings on every floor.  They also provide assistance and guidance to those in the halls.  They will continue to work as monitors for their Group Leader and carry out assignments until the termination of the event.  Emergency Wardens will wear yellow vests.

Buddies.  Buddies report the safe evacuation of their evacuee to their Group Leader.  They also report any special needs or problems that develop during the emergency period.

Committee Clerks.  Upon activation of a fire alarm, committee clerks will inform members of the committee and the public that an emergency exists and direct them to the designated exit.  If anyone in the committee room needs assistance in leaving the building, the clerk should call 7-9961 for assistance immediately.

Stairway Monitors.  Stairway monitors are members of the House and of Senate staff assigned to take up positions near the stairways on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors.  Stairway monitors will be assigned by the Executive Director to take up positions near the stairways on the 1st floor south, and on the 1st floor north as needed.  They guide individuals entering and exiting the stairways, keep the exit process moving and to provide brief reminders of assembly points.  Stairway monitors on the second floor north will direct people to the East exit or if necessary to the first floor to avoid or mitigate congestion at the East exit. Stairway monitors at the first floor north stairway will direct people to the (1S) South exit or if necessary to the first floor (1W) West (Public) exit to avoid or mitigate congestion on the first floor south exit.  Stairway monitors will wear yellow vests.

            If there is no immediate need to initiate building evacuation, the Senior Group Leader, Emergency Wardens, Office Captains, and Group Leaders are to be notified and placed on standby.

Complete evacuation decision.  If decision is made for immediate evacuation, notify emergency staff and activate the general evacuation alarm (fire alarm).

Partial evacuation or lock-down.  If a decision is made to initiate a partial evacuation or a building lock down, Capitol Security or as appropriate, the Executive Director or designee must issue clear instructions to all building occupants on whether and how to evacuate the building or to stay in their designated workspace until further notice.

            In either case, backup notification by telephone and runners will be initiated by the Executive Director or the director’s designee.

            The Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House must be evacuated immediately to predetermined locations.

            For safety reasons, maintenance and trades crews must be authorized or accompanied by a Capitol Security officer or other on-site response personnel in order to proceed to the site of alarm activation during a building evacuation.  If entry is authorized, they will wear red response vests.

            The north parking lot adjacent to the Governor’s entrance is the only area allowing ready access to the building by emergency vehicles and other heavy equipment.  This area must be kept clear for the emergency equipment, etc.  Those evacuating the building must make every effort to keep out of this area and stay clear of responding emergency vehicles.

            A mustering point and initial incident command center is located at the Governor’s entrance (1H or 2N) to the State House.          

            If the situation does not intensify, Team Members will be notified of the situation conclusion.

            Evacuation routes may change depending on the location and nature of the emergency.  Follow the instructions of the Stairway Monitors when exiting.

            All measures are based on the presumption that they will not place a person’s life in danger.  Such actions as closing windows and checking empty rooms should be weighed against the imminent danger to the person involved.  Actions unable to be taken are reported to the Group Leader.  The Group Leader forwards the information through channels to the Incident Commander who will make any necessary decisions.

Interference Prohibited

            The State House Emergency Team is charged with responsibility to carry out the evacuation measures as described in this plan.  No legislator, employee or visitor, no matter how well intentioned, may interfere with evacuation of the building or countermand instructions given by the State House Emergency Team for such evacuation.

VIII.        TERMINATION/CONTINUATION OF EVENT         

            Legislative Leadership or the Executive Director, after consultation with Capitol Security, the Senior Group Leader and the Incident Commander, informs the Senior Group Leader regarding re-entry to the building, relocation of business, or dismissal of employees and closure of business.  No one will be allowed to re-enter the building until authorized by the Emergency Team who receives re-entry instructions from the Senior Group Leader. 

            The Group Leaders circulate the information, using the Office Captains & Emergency Wardens.  Supplemental communications aids are used as available. 

            If dismissal with an undetermined return is indicated, the form of notification of resumption of business will also be announced and will most likely follow the notification process in place for snow days.

IX.        EVACUATION DRILLS

            The Executive Director will schedule and hold periodic evacuation drills in consultation with the presiding officers.  At a minimum, one drill will be held within the first two weeks every January.  A second drill will be held each September.  In conjunction with the drills, instructions on procedures will be given to State House Emergency Team members.

X.     PERIODIC REVIEW OF PLAN

            This plan is maintained by Office of the Executive Director and will be reviewed annually by the Legislative Council or its State House Facilities Committee and revised as necessary.

   

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