Emergency Procedures


In the event of emergency, it is the primary responsibility of the library staff present to do whatever is necessary to insure the safety of the library patrons and the remainder of the staff. The secondary responsibility of the library staff is to minimize the damaging effect of the emergency to property only if it poses no threat to anyone’s personal safety.

Remember; people first, property second.

General guidelines for action in any emergency situation are:

  2. Quickly gather as much information as possible in a reasonably short period of time, such as the nature and location of the emergency.
  3. Evacuate the area if the threat of danger is imminent and secure the area from entry by all by trained emergency personnel.
  4. Summon the appropriate emergency agency (police, fire or ambulance) by calling 911 and stand available to direct them to the source of the problem.
  5. Contact the Director.
  6. Staff should interview all patrons involved or witness to the incident and report to the emergency personnel.




In the event of an accident involving a staff member or patron, determine if you can handle the problem with reasonable care or if it is serious and requires the summoning of an ambulance. Provide whatever assistance you can until help arrives. If blood or other bodily fluids are present, use gloves and take other universal precautions. Call for assistance if necessary and then notify the Director.

  • Do not attempt to move the person if the injury is serious. Make the person as comfortable as possible.
  • Ask them to sit or lie down.
  • Let them call family or call for them.
  • Ask for the name of the injured or ill person and gather information about what happened.
  • Get the names of witnesses.
  • If physical trauma is the result of a crime, do not attempt any cleanup.
  • All staff members involved in the incident or witnessing the accident should immediately prepare a written report and turn them in to the Director.


Gather as much information from the reporting caller as possible. Attempt to learn as much from the caller as you can, such as the planned time of explosion, the type of bomb and its location in the building. Do not hang up. Complete a Bomb Threat Checklist as you take the call. Evacuate the building and call the police immediately. Do not use a cellular phone or activate the fire alarm. Notify the Director.


Do not presume that a death has occurred. Staff or patrons trained in CPR should provide assistance. Summon an ambulance immediately. Notify the Director. Staff members and volunteers with severe medical problems should notify their supervisors and co-workers of any problems and any standard emergency treatment related to the problem.


Don’t argue with anyone who appears to be experiencing a drug or psychiatric crisis. Be alert to the possibility of violence. One staff member should engage the person in conversation and patiently listen while another calls the police and the Director. A lone staff member should call emergency personnel for assistance. Attempt to continue talking with the person until help arrives. Notify the Director.


Keep calm. Do not run or panic. Remain where you are. If you are outdoors, stay outside; if you are indoors, stay inside. If you are indoors sit or stand against an inside wall or in a doorway; or else take cover under a desk or table. Stay away from windows and outside doors. If you are outdoors, stay away from buildings, overhead electrical wires, poles, or anything else that may shake loose and fall.


Do not approach the victim if the hazard of shock is still present. Secure the area. Attempt to remove the source of the shock if possible with insulated material (dry, wooden broom handle, etc.) or open the electrical circuit at the main breaker. Start CPR and summon ambulance. Notify the Director.


If the threat of personal danger is imminent, immediately evacuate the building.

  1.  Announce the evacuation verbally. Pull the alarm for all fires but not for bomb threats. Ask everyone in the building to remain calm and walk, don’t run to the nearest exit. Familiarize yourself with the location of alarm pulls before a problem occurs.
  2.  Notify emergency assistance by calling 911.
  3. Assist the handicapped and elderly to exit the building; and if possible, check the building for stragglers as you exit. Please be sure to check the restrooms and the second floor of the Thomas Library before you leave.
  4. Move the crowd away from the building and across the street from the entrance.
  5. Stand ready to direct the emergency assistance to the exact location of the problem.
  6. Prevent anyone from reentering the building until it is determined to be safe.


Familiarize yourself with the location of fire extinguishers and alarm pulls before a problem occurs. If you detect a fire before an alarm is activated automatically, activate the alarm and evacuate the building. You may attempt to extinguish a small fire with an extinguisher yourself after an alarm has been activated, but be careful not to place yourself in danger. Notify the Director.

MECHANICAL FAILURE OR DIFFICULTY (Furnace failure, broken glass, etc.)

Notify the Director and the Building Manager. If the problem is broken glass, do not allow patrons in the area or attempt to remove broken panes yourself.

POISONING (Real or suspect)

Attempt to establish the source of the poison and follow any immediate corrective action printed on the label. Additional information may be obtained by calling the Indiana Poison Control Center at 1-800-382-9097. Summon an ambulance and retain the suspected source of the poison for the emergency personnel. Notify the Director.


Listen to NOAA weather radio and monitor all conditions, warnings, alerts, and watches.


  • When a warning is issued by sirens or other means, have everyone move to the hallway outside the program room’s back door
  • Stay away from outside walls and windows.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.
  • Remain sheltered until the tornado threat is announced to be over.


  • Be ready to evacuate and climb to the upper floor
  • Move everything up to top of bookshelves and tables that can be moved safely i.e. books on lower shelves, free magazine bins, & items stored on lower shelves.


  • Monitor conditions and send patrons home if conditions are threatening
  • Staff close library and go home, if possible, if not find a safe place to go to wait out the storm and snow removal. (Director’s home is about 7 blocks away.)
  • Library will remain closed until county declares travel to be safe.
  • If blizzard is underway, Stay indoors!


A suspicious package may have no return address, excessive postage, stains, strange odor, strange sounds, unexpected delivery, be poorly handwritten, contain misspelled words, incorrect titles, foreign postage, or restrictive notes; and may be left unattended in a restroom, under a desk, in a corner or on a shelf. Do not touch or move a suspicious package. Notify the police.


Report all thefts to the police and the Director as soon as discovered. Cooperate with robbers and notify the police as soon as it is safe.

TOXIC FUMES (Real or suspect)

Evacuate the area and summon the fire department. Remove any affected person to a ventilated area and give resuscitation if necessary. Notify the Director.


The Director is responsible for closing the library due to unhealthy conditions, unsafe conditions or other emergencies. If the Director is unavailable, the Library Assistant will make the decision to close.

When the decision to close is made, the Director will notify the local TV stations, staff members and board president.


Library employees are required to report all accidents or unusual incidents to the Library Director in writing. The time, place, nature and circumstances of the accident/incident are to be included in the report. The report should also list the names of any library employees or patrons who may have witnessed the accident or incident.