Published: 18 March 2013
UQ safety in the hands of security
An elderly Indooroopilly woman believes she is alive today because of the work of The University of Queensland's security staff.
And Trisha (who prefers to keep her surname private) is only one of many who benefit from the service of UQ security.
Like mini-towns with their own police forces, the four campuses of UQ rely upon the University's security as the first response unit to any emergency.
And of course they also handle miscellaneous duties such as traffic control, opening and locking buildings and dealing with numerous calls for assistance.
Last year UQ Security received 3986 emergency calls (criminal and medical) among a total 127,140 calls relating to everything from fire and infrastructure alarms, traffic, occupational health and safety issues and petty crime.
UQ Security Manager Warren Collyer said security played a big role in every medical emergency on campus.
“In an event of a medical emergency, we issue an emergency call through our two-way radio system.
“We have staff in the mobile vehicle who are fully trained in first-aid, which includes training in anaphylaxis, asthma, advanced resuscitation, oxygen and defibrillation.
“And we also escort the ambulance to the site of the emergency.”
It was this streamlined and prompt action that saved Trisha on a February morning this year.
Trisha collapsed in the UQ Sport Aquatic Centre pool at the St Lucia campus after experiencing breathing difficulty.
“That morning I could only manage three laps in the pool,” she said.
“I suddenly felt it was hard to breathe, so I went over to the side (of the pool).
“My husband, who was in the outer-lane, came down to me.
“I then couldn't breathe. My husband couldn't get me out of the pool.
“He yelled out to staff to go get help.”
Management at UQ Aquatic Centre immediately contacted UQ Security.
UQ security responded to the emergency and administered oxygen to Trisha, who had fluid in her lungs, a condition called flash pulmonary edema.
“I had fluid in my lungs and I only had one third of my lung capacity (before swimming),” Trisha said.
“When swimming my lungs filled up with more fluid and that's when I could not get air in.
“The ambulance people said my pre-ambulance treatment was superb.
“I'm grateful to UQ Security and for staff at the Aquatic Centre who so quickly contacted them. I'm alive because of them.”
Mr Collyer said UQ security looked after any adverse event on campuses.
“Our role is to respond, assess and get assistance to resolve any situation that could involve crisis, emergencies, routine patrols, checking buildings, lock down of buildings,” Mr Collyer said.
In 1993, the gross floor area of buildings across UQ's campuses was 305,004 square metres.
In 2011, infrastructure increased 137 percent in size to 723,129 square metres.
Meanwhile, student numbers have nearly doubled from 24,680 in 1993 to 46,863 in 2011.
Despite the growth in size of infrastructure and doubling in student numbers, the security team has remained about the same size.
Mr Collyer, who heads the 66 member team including permanent and casual security guards, technical and administrative staff, said the extra workload had been absorbed through clever rostering, new technologies and commitment to quality staff training.
Headquartered in the newly refurbished Prentice Building at the St Lucia campus, security operates from a high-tech control room that monitors about 600 visible cameras across the major campuses.
The camera network enables fast, visual scanning of campuses and incidents by security officers.
“Roof-top cameras on buildings allow us to cover more ground more quickly,” Mr Collyer said.
“We also have cameras in buildings so we can see what's going on and assess risks.”
Mr Collyer said all security officers completed advanced first-aid training and undertook tertiary studies in security and risk management.
“The more trained our staff, the more prepared we are in any type of emergency,” he said.
UQ security continues to streamline smart technologies with procedures to maintain an efficient and effective service.
This is comforting news for staff, students and visitors to all campuses, and a genuine life-saver for Trisha.
Media: Belinda Berry, +61 7 33 65 3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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