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Introduction

Libraries have learned, through difficult and often disastrous personal experience, that they are not immune from disasters and other emergency situations. Emergencies are unforeseen circumstances calling for immediate action, such as fire alarms or severe weather which may cause damage to people and facilities. An often cited definition of a disaster is an unplanned event whose outcomes are tragic. Any preparation or planning conducted prior to an emergency or disaster will lessen its effects.

The purpose of this document is to present some general guidelines for disaster preparedness and specific steps for emergency response by Randall Library employees. Included in this plan is a description of responsibilities of the disaster team and a list of persons to call if disaster strikes. Specific types of emergencies addressed here are:

Preparedness and Procedures for Fire Emergencies

Preparedness and preparation for fire emergencies is almost entirely contingent upon regular, routine and as needed maintenance to the library's fire protection system. The UNCW Physical Plant tests and maintains this system. Follow up responsibility for ensuring that this regular, routine and as needed maintenance takes place is the responsibility of the University Librarian.

Another integral component of fire preparedness is a current and functional evacuation plan. The plan is developed by E H & S and posted in conspicuous locations. (Current evacuation plans "Building Emergency Plan" are in the process of being updated by EH&S and will be posted soon.) Library staff members are trained in general evacuation procedures and should understand their specific roles during an evacuation. Furthermore, staff members should be trained to use fire extinguishers and know when it is appropriate to do so.

Each employee is expected to be aware of conditions which could result in a fire and to report those conditions according to the specified procedure. Employee involvement in general disaster prevention is critical to the success of any fire preparedness effort and is a major component of the overall disaster planning effort. This component will be addressed through a comprehensive staff awareness and training program.

General Fire and Emergency Evacuation Procedures

​Policy is under review.

Preparedness and Procedures for Power Outages

Policy is under review (4/2015)

Preparedness and Procedures for Thunderstorms, Hailstorms and Tornadoes

Policy is under review 4/2015

Hurricane Evacuation Procedure

The purpose of these procedures is to provide guidance and specific duties for Randall Library personnel in the event of a hurricane emergency. Randall Library's procedures supplement the UNCW Hurricane Policy. These procedures apply to all Randall Library employees.

It is UNCW policy to view each hurricane threat as an extremely hazardous condition. The University's goal is to minimize the risk to personnel consistent with protecting University property and assets. Following a hurricane, movement to and from the campus may be seriously impaired. Persons who must be available following the hurricane to protect University property must be on campus prior to the arrival of the storm. This policy seeks to limit exposure of the University community to the risks of a hurricane, and yet allow for the protection of property.

Preparedness Review

Prior to the beginning of hurricane season (June 1) of each academic year, the Library Emergency Management Team will review the Library's hurricane plan and recommend any needed changes to the University Librarian for approval. Members of this committee (see Appendix A) will assume leadership roles in executing the plan in the event a hurricane emergency occurs and they will ensure that items on the checklist are completed. When a hurricane approaches, the preparations listed below are followed:

Phase 1: Hurricane Watch

When a hurricane watch is announced, emergency operations are begun, and they should be completed during the Beach Evacuation period. When beach evacuation is announced, the University is closed and shut-down procedures are performed.

  1. Review Hurricane Plan and appoint a coordinator from the Library Emergency Management Team for the hurricane emergency.
  2. Check inventory of plastic wrap, garbage bags and duct tape, all stored in storage room the Quiet Study Room (RL 2016). Procure additional supplies, if needed.

Phase 2: Hurricane Warning

Systems personnel ensure all computer backups have taken place and that backup media is stored in secured place.

Phase 3: Mandatory Evacuation

Systems notifies University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Fayetteville State University and Innovative Interfaces Inc. of hurricane warning and of the possibility that the library application servers may go down.

Systems reminds users via e-mail to unplug terminals and microcomputers from both power and communications lines and to secure equipment. Each library department is responsible for securing terminals and microcomputers in its area.

Housekeepers will assist Library personnel if requested to do so. Housekeeping will store all cigarette butt containers inside buildings, will close and secure windows with all blinds in closed position and will unplug appliances, other than computer equipment, from power outlets.

Each department head or designate will assure that windows and offices in their area are secured, using the following checklist:

  • unplug all electrical equipment such as PCs, printers, projectors.
  • cover equipment with plastic wrap or plastic bags and tape securely
  • cover equipment in bibliographic instruction room
  • position moveable stacks in Special Collections so that just the supply aisle is exposed
  • move chairs in recreational reading section away from the windowsc
  • cover Chihuly and other sculptures.
  • notify student assistants scheduled to work that building is closing
  • close and lock all doors and windows that haven't been secured
  • change telephone voice mail message
  • vacate the building and notify Campus Police that the building is cleared
Recovery

Policy is under review 4/2015

Preparedness and Procedures for Snow Emergencies

Policy is under review 4/2015

 

Policy is under review 4/2015

 
General Preventive Checklist

The university Physical Plant and Safety Office personnel regularly check alarms, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment. Randall Library must remain in compliance with instructions from these offices, as well as the Fire Marshall and North Carolina Department of Insurance.

Every library staff member is responsible for observing the surroundings and reporting problems with the building to the Library's Facility and Events Coordinator and/or entering a requestson the Sharepoint work order tracking system. Particular attention should be paid to leaks, obstructions, unstable shelving, broken equipment and other potential safety hazards. Employees should:

  1. Have a flashlight in each office and check flashlight batteries annually.
  2. Be aware of the posted Building Emergency Plans location.
  3. Be aware of the fire extinguishers' locations.
  4. Emergency evacuation procedures.

Employees are encouraged to enroll in training for life saving techniques such as First Aid/CPR.

 

Randall Library Fire/Emergency Evacuation Procedures

Policy under review 4/2015

Circulation staff on duty at the desk:

When alerted by the fire alarm, shouted warnings, or the sensation of smoke or fire:

  1. Call 911 to report an alarm or actual fire, if known, in Randall Library, tell the police which quadrant shows up on the annunciator panel.
  2. Secure cash drawer.
  3. Lock all of the main/entrance electronic sliding doors in the open position.
  4. Evacuate the building by the nearest exit. If smoke or flames make this route impossible, use another exit.
  5. NEVER use an elevator to evacuate the building and NEVER re-enter a building after a fire alarm until instructed to do so by the authorities.

All other library staff on duty:

When alerted by the fire alarm, shouted warnings, or the sensation of smoke or fire:

  1. Identify the nearest exit to your location and leave the building. If smoke or flames make this route impossible, use another exit.
  2. As you exit the building, tell library patrons to secure their belongings and follow you to the nearest emergency exit. 
  3. Assist other staff in moving people away from the building, toward the sidewalk circle west of Morton Hall or another location at least 100 feet away.
  4. NEVER use an elevator to evacuate the building and NEVER re-enter a building after a fire alarm until instructed to do so by the authorities.

 

Partners in Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Response

These university departments assist Randall Library in maintaining a safe environment for people and library resources. We gratefully acknowledge their contribution to this effort.

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