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In the event of an emergency, it is the responsibility of the library staff to do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety of the library customers and the remainder of the staff. The secondary responsibility of the library staff is to minimize the damaging effect of the emergency to property only if it poses no threat to anyone’s personal safety. People first, property second.

General Guidelines for action in any emergency situation are:

· Keep Calm.

· Quickly gather as much information as possible in a reasonable short period of time, such as the nature and location of the emergency.

· Evacuate the area if the threat of danger is imminent and secure the area from entry by all but trained emergency personnel.

· Summon the appropriate emergency agency (police, fire or ambulance) by calling 911 (9911 at the Regional Office/Monett Branch) and stand available to direct them to the source of the problem.

· Contact the Director.

· Staff should interview all customers involved or witnesses to the incident and report to the emergency personnel.

5.131 General Evacuation Procedures

If the threat of personal danger is imminent, immediately evacuate the building, i.e. fire, bomb threat, etc.

· Pull the alarm for all fires, but not for bomb threats. Ask everyone in the building to remain calm and walk, don’t run to the nearest exit.

· Call 911 (9911 at the Regional Office/Monett Branch).

· Staff should assist public in leaving the building by the nearest exit as quickly as possible.

· Assist handicapped individuals.

· Staff should check public restrooms and other public areas.

· Report refusals to leave to police/fire officials immediately.

· Notify the Director.

· Stay at least 100 feet from building, meeting at a designated place outside the building. Person in charge of the building should do an employee head count to ensure everyone has left the building.

· Prevent anyone from reentering the building.

· Wait to reenter the building until authorized to do so.


5.131A Evacuation/Emergency Information

5.131A Evacuation--Emergency Procedures
Download PDF • 91KB

5.132 Threats to Building and Personal Security

For serious, immediate threats:

· Stay calm and think before acting.

· Call 911 (9911 at the Regional Office/Monett Branch) and provide details of the threat.

· Do not resist or confront the violator.

· Notify person in charge of building and/or call the Regional Office.

For bomb threats:

· Remain calm. Keep caller on the phone and write down as much of the following as possible:

o Time of call

o Time bomb is set to go off

o Location of bomb

o Kind of bomb

o Reason bomb was set

o Other useful information (name, address of caller, etc.)

· Try to remember the voice (male, female, husky, squeaky, etc.) and any background noise.

· Follow evacuation procedures.

· Call 911 (9911 at the Regional Office/Monett Branch). DO NOT use a cell phone or activate the fire alarm.

· Notify the Director.

5.133 Fire

If the fire alarm goes off, check the building for a fire. At the first indication of smoke or flame, determine location and extent of the fire. There are fire extinguishers in each branch location.

· Report the fire by calling 911 (9911 at the Regional Office/Monett Branch).

· Keep your back to escape route.

· Use the fire extinguisher if the fire can be contained safely and quickly. Remember P.A.S.S.—Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.

· Do not attempt to extinguish a large fire.

· Follow evacuation procedure.

· Close doors behind you. Stay low.

· Never allow a fire to come between you and an exit.

· Notify the Director.

5.134 Tornados 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 take shelter in your designated shelter space.

· All circulation procedures and other services must cease during a tornado warning. After helping customers, staff must be able to take shelter.

· You cannot force a customer over the age of 18 to take shelter. Customers are not allowed to be in the building unattended while under a tornado warning. If customers refuse to take shelter ask them to exit the building. Customers under the age of 18 that are not accompanied by a parent or guardian must take shelter in the designated space.

· Staff should attempt to do a final check of the library.

· If time allows, staff should close the interior doors. Staff may not lock the exterior doors.

· Monitor the weather on the computer, if possible.

· Stay in the shelter area until the all clear signal.

· Call 911 (9911 at the Regional Office/Monett Branch) if people are seriously hurt or property is damaged.

· Notify the Director as soon as it is feasible.

5.135 Earthquake

· Keep calm. Do not run or panic.

· Remain where you are. If you are outdoors, stay outside; if you are indoors, stay inside.

· If you are indoors sit or stand against an inside wall or in a doorway; or else take cover under a desk or table. Stay away from windows and outside doors.

· If you are outdoors, stay away from buildings, overhead electrical wires, poles, or anything else that may shake loose and fall.

· Do not use candles, matches, or other open flame due to possible gas leaks.

· Have more than one evacuation route planned.

· Be aware of aftershocks.

· Call 911 (9911 at the Regional Office/Monett Branch) if people are seriously hurt or property is damaged.

· Notify the Director.

5.136 Health Emergencies

Staff member 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 and library. Without specialized training it is not advisable for staff to undertake more than keeping the sick or injured customer comfortable and protected from needless disturbance until medical help can be obtained. Staff should 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 judgement to do what is prudent and reasonable. If needed, first aid kits are available at each branch location. Call 911 (9911 at the Regional Office/Monett Branch) in the event of a serious problem. No medication, including aspirin, should ever be dispensed to the public. Notify the Director once the emergency has passed.

See 5.7A Accident/Incident Report

5.7A Accident Incident Report Form
Download PDF • 94KB

5.137 Inclement Weather/Emergency Closing

The Director shall have the authority to close individual branches of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library District when necessary, including, but not limited to construction, power outages, and weather.

Closing of the facilities of the District shall be approved by the Board of Trustees, unless a weather or other emergency exists which would bring substantial potential risk to customer or staff. Educational activities, or staff training days, involving system-wide closing of facilities shall be approved by the Board of Trustees.

When the decision to close is made, the Director will notify the local TV/radio stations, staff members, and board president. All closings will be posted on the library’s website and Facebook page and when possible signs will be displayed on the branch library’s doors.

5.138 Epidemic and Public Emergencies

The purpose of this policy is to establish formal guidelines for operations during an extended epidemic or other emergency. The library district should plan for numerous staff being unable to report for work during and epidemic or other health emergency. In addition, the library district will be required to follow orders of the County and State Health Department to help slow the spread of illness. This may include the closing of all library branches, or other reductions in service. The library district will attempt to keep core services of the library operational in case of reduced staff and reduce hours of operation.

Levels of Operation:

Green: Business as Usual.

During the period prior to the arrival of an epidemic or other health emergency, the Library Director shall monitor the situation and prepare extra supplies to reduce the likelihood of staff becoming infected and train staff on preventative measures to reduce the spread of infections. The following preventative actions may be taken to help prevent the spread of viruses, including:

o Washing your hands, often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

o If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

o Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

o Stay home when you are exhibiting symptoms of illness, have a fever, or are sick.

o Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

o Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

o Basic illness information will be placed on the library website and other places as appropriate.

o High attendance programs may be canceled by the Library Director and/or Youth Services Coordinator on a case by case basis.

Yellow: Cautious Operations.

When we have been notified by public health officials, either directly or by broadcast media, that the illness has arrived in our area the following precautions may be taken:

o Staff with compromising preconditions will be required to contact their healthcare provider for guidance on work attendance and/or protective procedures.

o Staff who have a fever or show signs of illness must remain at home.

o Staff will be encouraged to wear protective face masks, gloves, and/or eye protection when working with patrons and returned items. Hand washing for 20 seconds with hot water and soap is required immediately after removing gloves and before removing face masks and eye protection. Then they mush wash their hands again.

o Staff will increase cleaning and sanitizing of high traffic areas and items.

o Books and other items returned will be wiped down with appropriate antiseptic wipes and dried before being re-shelved.

o Additional special procedures for handling incoming materials to get past the expected lifespan of the virus may be implemented, such as using the bookdrop as a waiting area before handling materials.

o Programs involving groups of people may be canceled. This includes outside groups renting meeting rooms.

o Hours of operation may be reduced by the Library Director if illness lowers the number of staff able to work at the front desk.

o Normal sick leave policy will be in force.

Red: Stop Operations.

Upon a declaration of health emergency by public health officials, the library will first implement the directives of the public health officials. If the libraries are ordered closed the following procedures will take place:

o The Library Director will inform the Library Board of Trustees of a health emergency and the reasons for closure.

o The public will be notified of the order to close via our standard procedures for closing during inclement weather. The public will be encouraged to use our 24/7 resources for their information/reading needs.

o Staff will be notified of the closing using our current procedures.

o Designated staff member(s) will come by their branch once per day to empty the bookdrop. Designated staff are required to wear gloves, eye protection, aprons, and/or face masks when handling returned materials. All materials returned will be disinfected as appropriate for the item. Staff are required to wash their hands for 20 seconds in hot water with soap after removing protective gloves and before removing aprons, eye protection, and masks. Then they are to wash their hands again. Designated staff should inspect the building for any maintenance problems that occur while being closed and inform the Library Director upon discovering any problems.

o All staff will continue to be paid (based on the schedule) for the duration of the emergency.

o Library fees and holds will be suspended for the duration of the closing.


Staff will be notified via normal procedures when the library district is allowed to reopen. Provisions under “Cautious Operations” may be required until the full epidemic has passed. The Library Director will make the appropriate determinations upon being allowed to reopen. The Library Director will continue to monitor the news and public official announcements in case a second wave of illness occurs.

5.138 Policy Addition Approved by the Board of Trustees, March 16, 2020

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