Miami County commissioners said the evacuation plan for the Courthouse and Safety Building needs more details, specified responsible parties and a communication mechanism for the protection of employees and building visitors.

The commission met Nov. 4 with Sheriff Charles Cox and Chris Johnson, county operations and facilities director, to discuss questions raised recently about the plan.

Commission President Jack Evans said the plan last was updated in 2006.

Johnson explained the policy discussion came up after questions were raised during a couple of recent incidents including a false fire alarm.

Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said response to a couple of alarms the past few months was confusing. The policy was distributed again following the first alarm but response to the second was no better than the first.

Cox said people become complacent over time.

The county does not conduct employee drills but recommends departments do mock drills, Johnson said.

“The one thing we see every time is everybody tends to stand right outside the door,” Johnson said. “If we had a natural gas issue or a true explosion issue, people would be hurt.”

Among issues discussed has been the need to ensure the document is updated and those in charge of departments work with employees and designate an area where they would go to get away from the building.

More detailed scene coordination also was requested with the policy to specify who is responsible for releasing a scene such as the sheriff’s office or fire department.

Johnson said a false alarm procedure also needs to be added to ensure the fire department isn’t required to respond if it is known the alarm is false.

Commissioner Richard Cultice said there are scenarios that could affect both the Safety Building and the Courthouse.  He said a communication system is needed to notify employees and people doing business in the Courthouse and Safety Building of any need to evacuate, or stay where they are depending on the situation.

Matt Watkins, county IT department director, said there are several possible ways to handle the communication.

Johnson and Cox will meet with Watkins to discuss the policy items and recommend changes.

O’Brien said added training is needed to ensure people are getting away from buildings if evacuated. Once the updated plan is complete, regular reviews should be scheduled to ensure the plan is up to date, he said.