Evacuate or Shelter in Place?

Leave or Stay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great resource for deciding when to evacuate and when to shelter in place, and it can easily be customized for use at your library.  Post it to inform patrons and staff, and also use it as a tool for carrying out drills with your public services staff.  (Check with your safety officials first to ensure that it complies with their procedures.)  Kudos to the staff at the University of Virginia Office of Emergency Preparedness for putting it together.  Click on the image above to see the entire page.

A Busy Season for the American Red Cross

Since late March of this year, the American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/) has responded to 42 disasters in the U.S., from fires to floods and tornadoes.  They’ve opened 270 shelters, and handed out over 3 million meals.  Take a look at the map linked here  http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/donation/HowWeAreHelping.pdf  to see the distribution by state of their activities as of June 15, 2011.  I’m struck by the fact that the American Red Cross functions as the good neighbor for the whole country.

Shooter in the Vicinity

On September 28, 2010, we were all dismayed to hear about the shooter on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.  The crisis ended with the shooter running into the Perry-Casteneda Library, where he took his own life, not having injured anyone else.  While the incident was unfolding, the University acted immediately to instruct all its students, faculty and staff to shelter in place.  According to news reports, within 8 minutes of shots being fired, they had sent out an emergency alert via text message and posted the alert on their web page, and sounded outdoor sirens on campus to warn everyone to take shelter.  While most of us, fortunately, have no experience with this type of incident, it can, unfortunately, happen anywhere and anytime. 

When the NN/LM SE/A Emergency Preparedness & Response Committee met in December, one of the Florida representatives, Allison Howard, mentioned that their staff had watched a DVD called “Shots Fired:  When Lightning Strikes,” and that it was very effective in teaching the best response to shots fired in the workplace or vicinity.  Here’s the link to the site where the video is available, including a trailer/preview:  http://www.shotsfireddvd.com/

Libraries Vital in Emergencies

The American Library Association provided a press release yesterday, noting that Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) has succeeded in his efforts to have FEMA designate libraries as temporary relocation sites for their communities following an emergency or disaster.  See the details here:  http://connect.ala.org/node/127510.  Many thanks to Cheryl Rowan at NN/LM’s South Central Region for the heads up, via the DIMRC listserv (if you aren’t signed up for this listserv from NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center, go here to subscribe:  http://disaster.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc/dimrclistserv.html).  Quoting Sen. Reed:  

“It will help libraries in need relocate so they can keep serving the public in the wake of a flood or other emergency.  Libraries are vital information hubs, and in the aftermath of a disaster, libraries take on an even greater community role, providing free and easy access to technology and essential information.”

NIMS for the New Year

Want to be able to communicate with your community or institutional first-responders in case of an emergency?  Would you like to be included in emergency preparedness and response activities in your institution or community?  If so, you need to become familiar with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  This system provides a common language and structure for response that is shared by all first responders and emergency management people in the U.S.  NIMS training is free and open to all, and you can view the course offerings at http://training.fema.gov/IS/NIMS.asp on the FEMA site.  We recommend starting with IS-700 (available here http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is700a.asp), which provides an overview of the system, then you can add any courses that seem particularly applicable to your role.  Most modules, especially the introductory-level ones, are available to be taken asynchronously on your own computer and at your own pace, and you can probably complete one in about 20 minutes or so.  So let’s resolve that 2011 will be the year we increase our knowledge base for emergency response and make ourselves more valuable to our institutions and communities!