Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fire Plan (for Management)

I chose to write a plan for fire prevention and management, partly because fires are disasters that can happen anywhere at anytime, and partly because they are a disaster that is very easy to plan for if you invest the time and effort!

Fire Prevention (at all locations):

1. Install smoke detectors and fire alarms that are equipped to automatically call the fire department. This should be done every time a new branch is built, and is the joint responsibility of the branch manager, the branch coordinator, and the builders.

2. Check smoke detectors and fire alarms every six months to ensure they are working properly. It is the responsibility of the branch manager to schedule this check with maintenance, and the responsibility of the branch coordinator to check in with branch managers to ensure adhereence to schedule.

3. Review the library's fire insurance policy once a year. This is the responsibility of the library director, in consultation with the library's legal counselors.

4. Train all new employees in the following procedures:
-Turning off the fire alarm (in case of false alarm)
-Evacuating the building
-Contacting headquarters after evacuation of a building
-Referring media to the appropriate person for comment
-Assisting in emergency room delivery/pick-up of co-workers and the public
-Contacting materials management for initiation of material recovery procedures
This training is the responsibility of the employee's immediate supervisor, in conjunction with other managers (such as Librarian 1s) as needed.

5. Hold a fire drill at each branch during open hours every six months. At least 2 days prior to the drill, review above procedures with all employees and inform them of the date of the drill (but not the time). Refer to evacuation procedures below for the order of drill procedures. Schedule drills so that they occur at different times of the day, to allow for employees who work different shifts to be part of the drills. Scheduling and organization of these drills are the joint responsibility of each branch's management team (branch manager, assistant branch manager, 2 Librarian 1s).

6. Back up data on HQ servers once a week. Backed up data will be stored at county headquarters, possibly also (in small amounts) on branch servers. This is the responsibility of the IT team.

7. Copies of all personnel files should be kept in fire-safe storage provided by the county. This is the responsibility of the HR department.

Fire Management (at a branch other than Headquarters):

1. If the fire alarm sounds, determine whether or not it is a false alarm. If it is a false alarm, follow the instructions for turning off the fire alarm and call the fire department to alert them (any branch employee). If the fire alarm has been pulled, determine who has pulled it and speak to them (branch manager).

2. The following are signs that the alarm is NOT false:
-any smell of smoke
-any sight of smoke or flames
-unusual heat coming from any part of the branch
-patrons/staff coughing uncontrollably or quickly exiting a portion of the library
If any of these signs are noted, the building MUST be evacuated.

3. Make an announcement that everyone must exit the building, instructing all parties to meet at the branch's entrance sign (or another designated spot that is better suited for that branch). If conducting a drill, announce that it is a mandatory drill. If not a drill, announce that fact. Assign one staff member each to check the bathrooms and the children's area, and adult area, and assist patrons who need help exiting.

4. If your branch holds a special collection in the workroom, assign one employee who is already in the workroom to cover this collection with a fire blanket, then exit the building (assuming the collection is not the source of the fire).

5. Assign another 1-2 employees who are in the workroom to retrieve the first aid kit, and any employee belongings (keys, purses) that are easily accessible (assuming these items are not near the source of the fire, and ONLY if sufficient time exists for employees to complete these duties and exit the building quickly).

6. When the branch manager exits the building, they should attempt to bring the fire plan, current schedule, and cell phone with them.

7. Meet employees and patrons at designated spot. Determine that all employees and patrons have exited safely. (If conducting a drill, allow all to re-enter the building at this point.) If anyone is hurt, call 911. If the fire department does not arrive in 10 minutes, call 911 or the fire department.

8. Call Headquarters to appraise them of the situation. Request that a branch coordinator and public relations manager come to the scene.

9. Assist the firefighters with any information that might be helpful when they arrived. Allow unharmed patrons to leave once the fire department has arrived.

10. If media arrive on the scene, all staff should direct questions to either the library public relations manager (if present) or the branch manager. All that should be given is a description of what happened (the alarm sounded, smoke was sighted, etc.), the evacuation steps that were taken, and the information that all people are safe.

11. The branch will remain closed for the rest of the day. If the fire is contained with a relatively small amount of damage, staff should stay for the end of their shifts, helping to clean up the branch. If there is extensive building damage, library staff (except for the management team) will be sent home.

12. Books that are damaged will be sent to Headquarters to determine whether they should be preserved or discarded. If a large number of items must be discarded, multiple titles can be floated to the branch from other branches once the building is cleared for operation.

13. The branch management team, the branch coordinator, and the fire marshall will determine what repairs need to be made to the building and when it is ready to be reopened. Funds for relatively minor repairs (new shelving, new carpet) will come from the library emergency budget line item. Funds for major repairs will be diverted from funding for new branch construction. If the branch has to close for an extended period of time (longer than 3 days), the staff will be reassigned to other branches in the interim.

Fire Management at Headquarters:

1. Evacuation should proceed as it would at any branch, with the following changes: staff working in materials processing should each carry one box of new materials out with them, as they are able and only if there is adequate time. IT staff should be sure to close the fire safe door to the servers, assuming the fire has not already spread to this part. Additionally, they should initiate an emergency back-up sequence as they leave the building.

2. If there is major building damage, the materials processing staff will be relocated to one of the branches with meeting rooms. All other staff will be relocated to other branches as space is available. Executive staff may be relocated to the county government building.

3. The branch coordinators will call the branch managers, using the phone tree, to determine if ILS service has been disrupted at the branches. If so, IT staff will be sent to both the county headquarters and to branches to attempt to use back-up servers to re-initiate the system.

4. Major building repair funds will be diverted from funding for new branches. Other repair/replacement funds will come from the library's emergency budget line item (necessary server space, reorder of new books that were destroyed).