Wake-up Call!

Check this out!  Did we think that our procedures are fine for shelter-in-place?  Take a look at this document from the “Redefining Readiness” work group, authored by some very well-spoken people from the New York Academy of Medicine.  Having any procedure is better than none, I suppose, but the questions raised by this document are as good as “lessons learned” before the event happens!  Back to the drawing board we go!

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #7:  Devise a procedure for “Shelter-in-Place” situations.  Some emergency situations will require that your staff and patrons remain in your building rather than being evacuated; i.e. a chemical spill outside your building, a tornado, biological agent contamination.  Confer with your facilities management people and your library’s administration to determine a location for your shelter-in-place.  You will need two locations if you are located in a multi-story building.  The shelter-in-place location for toxic material incidents will be in the highest part of your building, preferably in a room without windows, and the location for shelter-in-place from tornadoes will be in the lowest, most central part of your building.  Include in your procedure an announcement that can be read on your public address system or via a bullhorn to let staff and patrons know that the procedure is being initiated, since there will be no alarms sounding.  The shelter-in-place procedure should be near the front of your manual rather than filed with the various events, since it covers several events at once. 

Gather the emergency supplies you will need in your shelter-in-place location and store them there, clearly marked as designated for emergencies only.  Your list will probably include duct tape and plastic sheeting for sealing off air vents and doorways, an emergency flashlight, an emergency radio, and a first aid kit as basic items.  As you think through the procedure for your situation, you may need to add to the list.  Our library has chosen not to store water and food for shelter-in-place, rather to ask each staff member to have these supplies on hand for themselves, but storing these is recommended by many critical incident management sites, such as FEMA and Homeland Security.

As part of staff training, take the trainees to the shelter-in-place location(s) and show them the emergency supplies.  Please see our Comprehensive Disaster Plan under “Shelter-in-Place” procedure for more details.

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #7:  Devise a procedure for “Shelter-in-Place” situations.  Some emergency situations will require that your staff and patrons remain in your building rather than being evacuated; i.e. a chemical spill outside your building, a tornado, biological agent contamination.  Confer with your facilities management people and your library’s administration to determine a location for your shelter-in-place.  You will need two locations if you are located in a multi-story building.  The shelter-in-place location for toxic material incidents will be in the highest part of your building, preferably in a room without windows, and the location for shelter-in-place from tornadoes will be in the lowest, most central part of your building.  Include in your procedure an announcement that can be read on your public address system or via a bullhorn to let staff and patrons know that the procedure is being initiated, since there will be no alarms sounding.  The shelter-in-place procedure should be near the front of your manual rather than filed with the various events, since it covers several events at once. 

Gather the emergency supplies you will need in your shelter-in-place location and store them there, clearly marked as designated for emergencies only.  Your list will probably include duct tape and plastic sheeting for sealing off air vents and doorways, an emergency flashlight, an emergency radio, and a first aid kit as basic items.  As you think through the procedure for your situation, you may need to add to the list.  Our library has chosen not to store water and food for shelter-in-place, rather to ask each staff member to have these supplies on hand for themselves, but storing these is recommended by many critical incident management sites, such as FEMA and Homeland Security.

As part of staff training, take the trainees to the shelter-in-place location(s) and show them the emergency supplies.  Please see our Comprehensive Disaster Plan under “Shelter-in-Place” procedure for more details.

Mock Disaster Drill

On Tuesday, in Richmond, Kentucky, the community took place in a mock disaster drill, simulating a release of a nerve agent. Here’s an article from Richmond Register explaining the event. I particularly like this quote at the end of the article, which gets at the heart of the importance of drills.
If you’re not finding out anything new [from the drill], then you’re probably not exercising as seriously as you should be.”

Shelter in Place

A person from Facilities Management just came over to help us determine which areas we need to seal off in the event of a release of hazardous gas. In our case, we need to seal off two doors and four intake vents; we’ll keep the four exhaust vents open and unsealed. Next week, someone in our department will pre-cut plastic for covering the intake vents and the doors. We’ll start drills for preparing the shelter in place room before the end of October.