Preparedness Class at Berea College

Here’s a description of what sounds like an interesting class being offered at Berea College.  Sign me up.

WHEN DISASTER STRIKES: HOW PREPARED ARE WE?
GST 277 CRN 20044 / HLT 277 CRN 20045
CONNIE RICHMOND

What will happen in Madison County, the City of Berea, and Berea College in the event of a major disaster? Do you know what the evacuation policy, quarantine policy, and the shelter-in-place policy is for Berea College, the City of Berea, and Madison County? Do you know the role the Madison County Health Department and the Kentucky Department for Public Health in a state of emergency? Do you know what role the Berea Hospital and College Health Services play in a major disaster? Do you know where the nearest decontamination unit and shelter is located?


In this course, students will explore local public-health policies relating to natural and man-made disasters. The students will learn what the policies are and spend class time identifying disaster policies by visiting the Madison County Health Department, the Blue Grass Army Depot, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Families, the General Assembly, and the Kentucky Department for Homeland Security in order to review current disaster policies. Upon completion of the review of policies, the student will spend class time identifying the policies that are adequate and meet the need. If the policies are inadequate, outdated, or inappropriate, students will take steps to advocate for policy change.

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #11:  Reporting.  An essential part of maintaining and improving your plan is to get as much information about every incident as possible, once the dust has settled.  Set up a section in your plan for Reporting, specifying the people who should be notified, and by whom, as well as what information they will need to provide follow-up.

 

You can devise a form which will help your first-responders know what information they should provide (see an example in the UVa plan linked to the “Sample Disaster Plans” tab above).  Reporting is most helpful if the chain of command in your library is notified simultaneously, such as by an email to the group (Emergency Response Coordinator to department heads to the manager of your facility and to your Director, for instance).  This way, if a key person in the communication chain is absent, the other members will still be informed about the incident and the follow-up.

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #11:  Reporting.  An essential part of maintaining and improving your plan is to get as much information about every incident as possible, once the dust has settled.  Set up a section in your plan for Reporting, specifying the people who should be notified, and by whom, as well as what information they will need to provide follow-up.

 

You can devise a form which will help your first-responders know what information they should provide (see an example in the UVa plan, linked to the “Sample Disaster Plan” tab above).  Reporting is most helpful if the chain of command in your library is notified simultaneously, such as by an email to the group (Emergency Response Coordinator to department heads to the manager of your facility and to your Director, for instance).  This way, if a key person in the communication chain is absent, the other members will still be informed about the incident and the follow-up.

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #10:  Document your Evacuation plan for staff and patrons.  Your library probably already has an Evacuation procedure in place, but you may need to elaborate on it to ensure that everyone knows how to safely exit the building from any location.  It is a good idea to have a narrative page that explains the Evacuation routes from all areas of the building, as well as maps based on floor plans (similar to those found on the inside of the doors to hotel rooms) showing the location and the route out.  Your Evacuation plan should include a specified site outside the building where your staff should gather after being evacuated.  You might need to specify two sites; one can be fairly near your building, in the event of a routine evacuation (such as power outage), and one farther away for more urgent situations such as earthquake or fire.  There should also be a procedure to follow after evacuation, such as:

  • go directly to the designated evacuation site
  • do not re-enter the building until directed by a person in authority
  • report to your supervisor to find out the status of the building, your work area, and whether you are to continue your work responsibilities at the present time

 

It is very important that all staff be trained and re-trained regarding Evacuation procedures.  There is no guarantee that everyone will be at their own workstations when an evacuation is ordered, so all staff need to know all routes.  When training staff in Evacuation procedures, it is helpful to train in small groups and actually walk through the routes from each part of your building.  Remember to account for anyone, either staff or patrons, who might have mobility issues and need help, especially if elevators are not available because of the emergency.  Your goal is to ensure that everyone knows and can access the safest possible route from any part of your building, and is aware of follow-up procedures that will ensure that everyone is accounted for after an evacuation.

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #10:  Document your Evacuation plan for staff and patrons.  Your library probably already has an Evacuation procedure in place, but you may need to elaborate on it to ensure that everyone knows how to safely exit the building from any location.  It is a good idea to have a narrative page that explains the Evacuation routes from all areas of the building, as well as maps based on floor plans (similar to those found on the inside of the doors to hotel rooms) showing the location and the route out.  Your Evacuation plan should include a specified site outside the building where your staff should gather after being evacuated.  You might need to specify two sites; one can be fairly near your building, in the event of a routine evacuation (such as power outage), and one farther away for more urgent situations such as earthquake or fire.  There should also be a procedure to follow after evacuation, such as:

  • go directly to the designated evacuation site
  • do not re-enter the building until directed by a person in authority
  • report to your supervisor to find out the status of the building, your work area, and whether you are to continue your work responsibilities at the present time

 

It is very important that all staff be trained and re-trained regarding Evacuation procedures.  There is no guarantee that everyone will be at their own workstations when an evacuation is ordered, so all staff need to know all routes.  When training staff in Evacuation procedures, it is helpful to train in small groups and actually walk through the routes from each part of your building.  Remember to account for anyone, either staff or patrons, who might have mobility issues and need help, especially if elevators are not available because of the emergency.  Your goal is to ensure that everyone knows and can access the safest possible route from any part of your building, and is aware of follow-up procedures that will ensure that everyone is accounted for after an evacuation.

Emergency Alerting System

When disaster strikes, you may have only a short time to make what might be a life or death decision.”

The above quote is taken from a web page maintained by the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency, Clarksville, Tennessee. The site explains the emergency alerting system for their area.

What alerting system exists for your area?