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Former Austin Manager Reacts to Plane Crash
February 19, 2010
It has been more than a decade since Dan Yates, a regional manager with the Gaedeke Group in Dallas, managed the Echelon Building I in North Austin.
So when the building was hit by a plane Thursday, he viewed the tragedy from a slightly different perspective.
When news reports surfaced that a lone pilot crashed his plane into the office building, it hit Yates more personally.
“We all feel for the folks in Austin who are having to wake up this morning and deal with the situation,” he said.
As for Yates, who also holds a regional leadership position with the Building Owners and Managers Association, the incident is another reminder on the need for reinforcing what to do when difficult situations erupt at office buildings and complexes.
He added that the most important thing to do is to review safety and evacuation procedures with staff members consistently “to make sure everybody remembers their responsibilities and to make sure folks on those lists have been trained appropriately to get people out of the office space,” he said.
Yates reinforced the need for office building managers to stay in close contact with tenants in emergency situations and to quickly obtain an accurate accounting of who is safe and who was in the building before the evacuation. He said office tenants usually have the best ability to account for who was at work and who was not, so individual businesses should come up with their own strategies for tracking office attendance on a daily basis.
“I think each office should set up their own procedure for doing something like that,” he said. “We would leave it up to each individual tenant.”
Officials believe the Echelon Building was targeted by software engineer Joseph Andrew Stack III because it housed offices of the Internal Revenue Service. Yates said being a tenant housed in a building next to government agencies is really no different from having a commercial tenant as your neighbor. “The building management company is going to go through the same standards in terms of security,” he said.
Yates added that government tenants may even add a dose of security in certain cases because of the nature of their business.
But the takeway, he said, is this: “It can happen anywhere” and “it could be anything” that turns office buildings into emergency areas. Overall, it’s this area of unpredictability that means building management companies have to be prepared to execute effective evacuations.
Copyright 2010 bizjournals.com
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