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Live Operators Replace Call Tree for Reporting Building Emergencies

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

If you’ve ever needed to report a lockout, an alarm going off, or any other building emergency on campus, a new partnership makes it a lot easier to get help.

This summer, the University IT (UIT) Operator Services Center (OSC) partnered with Land, Buildings, and Real Estate (LBRE) in a three-month pilot to take all phone calls to the LBRE Facilities and Dispatch Phone Line (650-723-2281), a line used for emergency calls 24 hours a day. Because of the pilot’s success, in September LBRE decided to establish a long-term partnership with OSC to cover these calls.

A faster response

Before the pilot, LBRE used its own staff to answer approximately 2,500 calls per month to the phone line, diverting resources from other parts of its operation. These calls include both emergency issues and requests for services such as landscaping. Callers did not immediately reach a live person, and non-critical calls sometimes went to voicemail.

Today, callers always reach a live OSC operator right away, who triages the request and immediately generates an automatic work order for urgent service requests.

Building emergencies can include anything that requires an immediate response, such as flooding from a sprinkler system or a lockout, explained Operator Services Center Manager Pam Miller. With the new partnership, OSC also monitors LBRE’s critical alarms that are reported automatically, such as a smoke alarm that goes off or a change in the chill water that cools hospital equipment, Miller said.

"In this new agreement, OSC will handle the calls and directly dispatch the LBRE technicians to respond to issues,” said Jan Cicero, UIT’s Associate Vice President of Client Services. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Part of a larger trend

LBRE is just one of many groups, such as the School of Medicine, Residential and Dining Enterprises (RD&E), and Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), that use OSC’s round-the-clock central dispatch service, which currently handles an average of 3,000 calls a day. The addition of LBRE supports a university-wide effort to improve dispatch.

“By centralizing dispatch services that were previously handled by various groups across campus, we bring a more standard and consistent level of support to the service," said Miller. "It's both a client service and efficiency win for Stanford."
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