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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.

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