Security and fire department on the move under new department manager

Security’s incident reporting center moved to Atlas, the fire station moved to Feniks, and the parking desk moved to MetaForum, all in just one and a half weeks’ time. The move was supervised by a freshly appointed department manager who didn’t exactly got the time to comfortably familiarize herself with her new office in Eindhoven.

Nevertheless, Safety & Security manager Melanie Boumans seems quite relaxed when we meet her in the basement of Atlas just days after all these internal moves. This is where the incident reporting center had been located before in previous years, and where the finishing touches will be added in the coming period after last week’s major relocation. “All the systems we work with, from the barriers to the intercoms, had to be transferred. That is not the work of just one supplier, but of several suppliers. And they had to work closely together last week according to a tight schedule.”

But last week’s relocation activities weren’t limited to Safety & Security’s incident reporting center alone. The parking front office also moved from A to B this week, or to MetaForum in this case (MF 1.1552 to be exact, open for all students and staff members with questions since Wednesday, July the 4th).

And finally, the fire station, which had been shared by TU/e’s own department and the fire department of the Safety region Brabant-Zuidoost for the last almost two years, moved as well. The fire department exchanged the Multimedia Paviljoen for the Feniks building (a former Fontys building), located at the eastern periphery of campus. The new location in Feniks, incidentally, is a temporary one; six months from now, the fire department will move to its final location elsewhere in the building.

Collaboration between fire departments

The new manager Safety & Security is very pleased with the collaboration between the two aforementioned fire departments. They still respond to their own call-outs in practice (the TU/e department responds to emergencies on campus, the regional department to those from outside), but the overall collaboration is to everyone’s satisfaction, Boumans says. “They support each other, and complement each other with their expertise. The contact on my level, with my colleague from the safety region, is excellent as well.”

Now that the relocation is completed, attention will shift to the longer term. Because integral safety, set in motion by her predecessor Bloemers, is another item printed in capital letters on Boumans’s to-do-list. And not just on her list, but also on that of Student Affairs, Occupational Health, Safety, Environment and Radiation Protection, and ICT. “Working together for a safer and more secure society, that’s what it is about – also here on campus. From physical accommodation and security during events, to digital security and adequately responding to people who behave alarmingly, for instance; these are all major issues we need to address together.”


Boumans points to the university’s growth and its expanding student population. “Everyone of us comes across someone in our direct environment once in a while who we worry about. How can we help these people before something starts to ‘tick’ in their head and things go wrong? There is an increasing individualization in society and it’s not just the elderly who suffer from loneliness, so do young people. We need to look after one another and try to prevent people from ending up in the safety chain.”

The first steps towards this proposed program on integral safety have already been taken, according to Boumans, who points to, among other things, the first meetings in the directors consultations. She also points to the so-called Governance Board Integral Safety that has been operating for some time now. This board, which unites management of the three abovementioned departments, has “made serious steps,” Boumans says.

But Boumans believes the time has come for a further deepening “by developing a program specifically aimed at this issue in order to create more awareness among people about what is going on, so that we can offer help. Not: what do we want to achieve in ten years’ time, but concrete action aimed at short-term results.” She hopes to present this program to the Executive Board by August.

Rely on each other

Thirty-four-year-old Boumans is enthusiastic about her first months on the Eindhoven campus. “TU/e is like a regular society, very close and committed, people can rely on each other. That also became clear to me when I saw how committed people were to making me feel at home here, that’s really very cool.”

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