Name: Amelia Joly
Project: Maintenance and Emergency Operations Analysis – Standard Operating Procedure Development
School: University of Oklahoma
Major: Industrial and Systems Engineering
This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to intern in the National Museum of Natural History with the OFMR team. My project has been to develop and document Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for essential building system shutdowns and restarts. In order to get the information for these SOPs, I have worked closely with the building engineers who regularly perform these procedures. As an engineering student, I come from a technical background, but I had little to no experience with the types of building systems I’m documenting – high-pressure steam, chilled water, fire suppression systems, natural gas, and others. I interviewed the building engineers about the processes, taking extensive notes about safety procedures, difficulties that might arise, and anything else someone performing the operations might need to know. Then I photo documented the procedures and compiled all the information into clear step-by-step instructions. It was a challenge to present all the necessary information in a way that is still accessible and easy to follow. Each SOP consists of a “panic-proof” cover page with just the bare essentials for each step, a photo reference page, and finally several pages in the back that cover each step in detail and include much larger and more detailed photos. The final deliverable is a binder with 80 procedures documented like this.
My project will help the Smithsonian and OFMR because I’ve captured information that previously, if it was passed from person to person at all, only traveled by word of mouth and experience. My binder of SOPs can be used in an emergency if an engineer needs to be called in from another zone, or when the engineer who’s on duty may not have experience with troubleshooting a certain procedure. It can be a reference for someone who is not sure if he or she remembers the details of a procedure recently learned. It can be a study tool for someone who is new to this building or the field of building maintenance. If the binder proves useful, the process I followed and SOP template I created can be used by others across the many Smithsonian facilities to capture information and make it accessible in a standardized format.
In addition to work, there’s been lots of fun at the Smithsonian this summer too. I’ve been inside the domed rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History and climbed the scaffolding all the way to the ceiling of the several-story-high paleo exhibit that’s currently under renovation until 2019. I got to actually shut off the water to the National Museum of Natural History and drain the building, and lock out the museum’s air handler units myself in preparation for a power outage. Overall, I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done here, the fun things I’ve seen, and most especially the people I’ve worked with.