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Emergency Procedures Policy

Emergency Procedures Policy

 The two priorities in all cases of emergencies are:


 1) The safety of patrons and staff

 2)  Keep calm


Inclement Weather/Emergency Closing


The Library is a public service institution, and every effort is made to maintain regular

hours for the public. The Library will be closed only when weather conditions deteriorate

to the point where traveling is hazardous and “no travel” is advised by the highway patrol, when vital equipment in the building fails or when there is a general emergency.  Notices of such closings will be broadcast on the KIWA radio station. The staff person in charge will contact KIWA either by telephone or email.  If the library closes early, a sign will also be posted on the front door. When feasible, a contact person for groups scheduled to use the meeting room will also be notified.


The decision to close the Library during an emergency or catastrophe will be made by

the Library Director or in cases where the library director is not available for consultation, the library employee in charge or on duty.


If the severe weather is too close and it is not safe for patrons to leave, they will be advised to take shelter in the basement. In this situation staff should encourage patrons to stay but cannot force them to do so.


If the library needs to be closed, or close early due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, staff may use their vacation time or make up hours to receive pay for hours that they were unable to work. However, it must be made up during the same work week. Any fines will cease to accrue until after the emergency conditions have ended.




Bomb Threats


In the case of a bomb threat, keep the caller on the line as long as possible; ask specific questions about the location and detonation time of the bomb.  Write down everything that is said and take note of any background noises.  After the caller hangs up, call 911 and clear the building.




If the fire alarm goes off, check the building for a fire.  Check the fire alarm box that is located in the furnace room in the basement.  Push the silence button – (this will only shut the horns off). Check for a fire and if there is none, push the reset button. There are four pull stations. If one has been pulled, reset with the key that is in the petty cash drawer at the front desk.


At the first indication of smoke or flame, determine location and extent of the fire.  If the fire can be contained safely and quickly, proceed to do so. (Do not attempt to fight fires larger than a waste paper basket). There are fire extinguishers located in the meeting room, by the magazine display case and in the basement. All staff must be familiar with the type, location and application of the fire extinguishers and will be required to attend the Safety Meeting when this topic is discussed and extinguishing a fire is demonstrated.


 In the case of fire, evacuate the building immediately. Shout out to patrons and other staff; check the basement, bathrooms, meeting room and stacks. Vacate the building as quickly as possible and call 911. Do not return to the building after evacuation.  Staff and patrons will remain outside of the building until the fire department has issued an “all clear” to return.


Hazardous Materials Spills


In the event of a Hazardous Materials spill in the area, all doors and windows must remain closed.  The heating and air conditioning unit will be shut off.  Staff and patrons will be asked to stay in the library until conditions are safe or are asked to evacuate to another location.


Health Emergencies

Library staff who are not certified in CPR and/or First Aid Training should exercise caution when administering first aid of even a minor nature because of the safety of the injured individual and the potential liability of the staff member. Without specialized training it is not advisable for staff to undertake more than keeping the sick or injured patron comfortable and protected from needless disturbance until medical help arrives.  Staff will observe standard precautions and avoid contact with body fluids, including blood to the extent possible.  Since each case is unique, staff members should use their own judgment to do what is prudent and reasonable. If needed, a First-Aid kit and non-latex gloves are available at the circulation desk in a blue container labeled with the first aid cross in the large staff work cupboard. Call 911 in the event of any serious problem. No medication, including aspirin, should ever be dispensed to the public.


Threatening Situations


The safety of the staff and patrons is our first priority.  In the event of a dangerous situation, whether an individual threatens another patron or a staff member, it is important to remove yourself from the situation by getting out of the building or hiding if possible. Call 911 as soon as you are a safe distance from the situation and/or building.


Tornado and Thunderstorms


A tornado or thunderstorm watch means you should be prepared to take cover if threatening conditions are sighted. A tornado or thunderstorm warning is issued by the local National Weather Service facility and means a tornado or severe thunderstorm is imminent.  If the warning/sirens are sounded, instruct everyone to go to the basement. Staff cannot force a patron into protective covering. Once staff make the announcement “The tornado siren has sounded, please move to the basement” most patrons will follow.  Some may elect to stay in the main area or to leave.  Make the announcement several times. Staff members will attempt to do a final check of the library to determine that everyone is in the basement. Staff members should close interior doors if time allows and take the weather radio to the basement to monitor any warning and watches that are issued. The weather radio is at the circulation desk and is plugged into the outlet to the right of the copy machine. Persons should take shelter immediately and remain there until the danger has passed. Stay in the area until the all clear signal. Monitor the weather/storm on the radio. If there is a power outage, the emergency lights over the EXIT signs will come on. Call 911 if people are seriously hurt or property is damaged.




Staff should notify the Library Director of any emergency occurring at the library, as soon as it is feasible.






Adopted: July 5, 2012

Amended:   March 8, 2016


Scheduled for Review:  May 2019

This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.