Courthouse requires evacuation plan

With the newly renovated Auglaize County Courthouse comes the need for an improved and updated evacuation plan for those who may be in the building when disaster strikes, a county official says.

Such a plan was required to be approved prior to occupancy of the building.

Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Troy Anderson developed the plan, which was approved by the Auglaize County commissioners this week.

“I wrote the plan as if you were at a certain location, how would you get out,” Anderson said of the courthouse’s new fire and evacuation plan.

He said using state fire code and including some additional components, the plan was developed using locations on each of the courthouse’s levels.

In addition to what is required by the state, Anderson said he included someone to be accountable on each floor for providing directions and helping get people out safely.

“The plan actually differs quite a bit because of the remodeling and new security,” Anderson said.

Although the courthouse is moving to one secure entrance to the building, Anderson said that won’t be the way occupants leave in an emergency.

“When the alarm is activated, all doors open,” Anderson said. “All exits need to be directional out and we will want people to understand that just because they came in one door doesn’t mean if there is a fire they have to go out that same door.”

He said the plan not only addresses physical directions for exit from the building, but accountability for different evacuation aspects, a list of contacts both during and after hours, and information on how the elevator operates in different modes. It addresses who employees need to report to.

The plan was presented to commissioners Tuesday and after two walk-thrus, including one with Auglaize County Administrator Mike Hensley and Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites. The plan was later approved by commissioners on Thursday.

“You are here” maps of the plan and the courthouse layout are to be visible on each floor of the courthouse to help in the event of an emergency.