Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #17:  Information on prevention.  Once you’ve identified the emergency situations for which you are at risk, give some thought to whatever activities you can pursue in order to prevent or at least mitigate damage wherever possible.  For example:

  •  prevent the spread of disease:  keep antibacterial hand cleaner at the service desks, recommend staff stay home when sick, get flu shots each year

  • prevent fire:  provide a link to your fire marshall’s or institution’s fire prevention web page

  • prevent flooding:  think about any areas like doorways or windows that might be susceptible to flooding; are there any measures that can be taken to lessen the likelihood of water coming in that way?

  • prevent theft:  post signs throughout your public areas warning patrons not to leave valuables unattended.  Remind staff that even personal workspaces are not completely safe, and they should not leave purses or other valuable items unsecured. 

  • prevent behavioral incidents:  review the access situation for your library; would it help to limit access during weekend/evening hours (requiring an ID, etc.) if you haven’t already done so?  Remind library staff to be vigilant and to notify the Emergency Response Coordinator or Circulation if they notice anyone who is behaving oddly or may present a behavioral problem.  Consider installing video surveillance cameras throughout your space if you haven’t already done so.

Incorporate prevention strategies in the training you provide to your first responders, but also send out reminders periodically to all library staff. Take literally the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”