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Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #6:  As you develop emergency response procedures, create a table for the “first responders,” that shows the order of immediate response to all the emergency events that you have identified as potential threats to your library.

When an emergency occurs, there will often not be enough time for staff to find the full procedure in the disaster plan manual.  Since the correct response depends upon the urgency of the situation in may cases, it will be helpful to have a chart or table that can be posted at the location where emergencies are reported and handled, your designated “Command Central” (in our case, this location is the Circulation desk).  The table provides a “ready reference” for staff, as well as providing a training aid for all first responders on your staff.

Your columns might be:  Incident / Initial Response / Secondary Response / Follow-Up Response, while your rows will include all the events, listed in alphabetical order.  In our case, a call to 911 is the first response for the most urgent situations, such as explosion , fire, or medical emergency, while notifying the ERC (Emergency Response Coordinator) is the first response for less urgent, but nonetheless situations of significant impact, such as biological agent contamination, suspicious behavior, and flooding.  For situations such a widespread power outage that is likely to last for several hours, an epidemic, or an approaching hurricane, the library’s management group will meet to plan a strategy, since the impact will be significant and will have an effect on all staff and patrons, but the time is not as critical in the decision-making process as it is for urgent situations that occur suddenly.   To see the chart we devised, check out the UVa Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan, linked on the “Sample Disaster Plan” tab in the top menu bar of this page, and find the “Emergency Responses by Priority” page.

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