Newsletter Articles

Disaster Plan Update

January 15, 2014

The Ball is in Your Court
Katharine M. Nohr, J.D.

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, where estimates at this writing are 10,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands of people misplaced, it is time to consider whether your organization is prepared for a significant weather disaster.

1. Disaster Plan Notebook
In response to the question— “what is your organization’s disaster plan?”— did you pull up a folder on your computer marked, “Disaster Plan”? You’re right, it was a trick question. What you should be doing is looking for that Disaster Plan in a notebook form. Yes, trees will have to be sacrificed so that you can print your plan on paper. Otherwise, the disaster that knocks out your electricity could also take your plan with it.
Read more

The Road Map to Successful Facility Management: Part 1

January 15, 2014

Part 1: Human Resource Management

Jimmy Francis
Director, Student Recreation Center
CSU, Northridge

Editors note: This article is the first of a 3-part series. Part 1: Human Resource Management, Part 2: Building and Equipment Management, Part 3: Budget Management.

As a facility manager you can at times feel like a lost tourist in a congested metropolitan area trying to navigate an unfamiliar city. Identifying what to focus on and where to allocate your limited resources (both time and money) can be overwhelming. Fear not, this article contains your road map to successfully managing your facility.

Along the path to successfully managing your facility, a manager must keep in mind three important areas: the people or the human resources you have, the building and the equipment inside of it, and your budget. Successfully focusing on these areas will allow you to position yourself to accomplish your main goal, which should be to create a clean, safe and welcoming environment for your participants.

As a facility manager, not only is it important for you to put your “hard skills” to work operating your facility, but it is also necessary to understand that there are certain core values, or “soft skills,” that will help you to be successful as well. Throughout the course of this article, you will not only learn about the different tools you can use to manage your facility, but you will also gain knowledge about some of the core values that are typically found in successful facility managers. Read more

The Road Map to Successful Facility Management: Part 2

January 15, 2014

Part 2: Building and Equipment Management

Jimmy Francis
Director, Student Recreation Center
CSU, Northridge

Editors note: This article is the second of a 3-part series. Part 1: Human Resource Management, Part 2: Building and Equipment Management, Part 3: Budget Management.

Stop two on our road map to successful facility management involves maintaining the actual building itself and the equipment inside of it. If you are in the field of facility management, you likely enjoy spending most of your time working around your facility tackling the operational and mechanical issues that arise. Let’s be honest, it’s often easier to deal with the building than the people! You can’t always fix a personnel issue with a wrench or duct tape, but I know sometimes you wish you could!

Core values that are often visible in a successful facility manager include someone who is detail oriented, cautious, and responsible. Ultimately your success is going to be determined by your ability to pay attention to the details. Even the smallest details can’t be left in your rear view mirror, but rather need to be attended to as soon as possible. As a facility manager it is also your role to be cautious by nature. You are often the person most responsible for identifying, reducing, and/or eliminating liability concerns in the facility. Safety should always be on the forefront of your mind.

Lastly, as a facility manager you must always be responsible for the condition of the facility, the staff’s performance, and the users’ experiences. If you are walking by trash on the ground, ignoring scratches on the wall, not reporting maintenance issues, and not holding staff accountable, who will? You must also be ready to step up in times of need and when emergencies arise. At times you, and you alone, will be the one who is figuring out how to fix the disaster that just occurred. Read more

Six Risk Control Techniques for Sport and Recreation

January 15, 2014

The Ball Is In Your Court
By Katharine M. Nohr, J.D.

Understanding the basics of risk control techniques is a first step in establishing a risk management program for your organization. The techniques are as follows:
Avoidance means electing to eliminate an activity completely in order to avoid the risk all together. An example of this would be to decide not to have surfing as a high school or university sport due to the high risk of injury or death. However, an organization may not wish to use this risk control technique as it might conflict with its goals. Read more

Looking at Risk Management through a different Lens

January 15, 2014

Kate Dorrity
Assistant Director — Risk and Facilities Management
Purdue University, Division of Recreational Sports

Welcome back! It’s back to the beginning for all of us – the beginning of the school year and of the programs we spent the summer preparing. We’re moving from the planning (and relatively student-less) phase of our work into implementation and evaluation. It’s time to see if our planning generates tangible results.

We all evaluate our programs, right? We look at participation numbers, satisfaction levels, budget changes… the list seems endless sometimes. But it is through that evaluation that a program grows and becomes the best it can be.

It’s time to take that same approach to risk management. As you begin the implementation phase of your programming, be aware of the ways in which risk management plays a part in your organization. Step back, take out your wide-angle lens, and look at the big picture:

– Are there consistent risk management procedures and training across program areas?
– Are there opportunities for staff to bring up safety concerns and discuss possible solutions?
– Are industry trends and hot topics being considered at the department level?
– Is risk management the responsibility of individual program areas or is there an organization-wide strategy?
– How can we better serve our participants and staff to ensure their safety and security?

It’s that last question that I find most powerful. In fact, I spent all summer thinking about it. Am I fully utilizing my resources, both internally and externally? Am I adequately preparing my staff to mitigate risk? Am I doing everything that I can? Read more

“Responsible Tailgating” — an oxymoron?

January 15, 2014

Alison Epperson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Ed.
Murray State University

In North America, tailgate has become nearly as important as the actual event. Extensive planning, preparation, food, attire, accessories, and location are key elements in enhancing the tailgater’s experience. The very nature of tailgating is a great example of culture “a shared set of attitudes, values and beliefs held by a group of people.”
However, as the popularity of tailgating has increased (and in particular, the alcohol consumption associated with it), so have some significant risk factors which can have detrimental effects on the participants as well as the property/ ownership of the event location.

It is not to say that other sports do not participate in tailgating, but by in large, the two sports most closely associated with large-scale pre and post event drinking (and sometimes even during) is football and NASCAR racing. Football however, touts elaborate tailgating on both the collegiate and professional level.
With reports estimating products and services related to tailgating accounting for revenue generation of approximately $12 billion, it’s not likely that this trend is going to decrease anytime soon. Furthermore, tailgating is not limited to just students supporting their home team. According to Katherine Dyson’s (2008) article ‘Turn Tailgating Into Fine Art’, the demographics of tailgaters may or may not surprise you: Read more

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