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Earthquake Emergency Procedures

General Information

Earthquakes come with no warning and may occur in any part of the world. Preparation for earthquakes involves informing staff what to do when a quake begins, and knowing the building evacuation procedure for after the quake.

Earthquake Procedures

During an earthquake, staff should advise patrons to take cover in safe areas of the building:
  • Door frames
  • Under sturdy desks or tables near the center of the building
  • Staff should direct patrons away from outside walls and windows.
  • Staff should advise patrons to "duck, cover, and hold" during the earthquake shock.
  • Do not use matches, candles, cigarette lighters or other open flame devices during or after the shock because of possible gas line leaks.

Post-Earthquake Procedures

When the initial shock is over initiate Earthquake Evacuation Procedure. Do not go back into the building until it is cleared for reentry.

General Considerations

  • Use the PA to direct people to leave the building if it's safe to do so. If PA doesn't work, staff on each floor should shout such directions.
  • Enclosed stairwells are safer than central stairs. Do not use central stairs.
  • Never use elevators.
  • Staff with work assignments/offices on each floor should evacuate that floor and should not depend on help from other staff on other floors. Emergency Team member should be prepared to "draft" volunteers from among library patrons in their area and quickly assign responsibilities.
  • Special considerations have been made for evacuation of the handicapped (see "Evacuation of the Handicapped", below).

Evacuation of the Handicapped

  • Assist handicapped people to a fire exit. On the second floor and above, when all other people have evacuated, move handicapped person into enclosed stairwell.
  • Notify Public Safety, through campus phone, another staff member or shouting, of your exact location.
  • Close and secure the door to the stairwell once you and the handicapped person are in the stairwell.
  • Once secured inside stairwell, Emergency Team Members should go down the stairs and open the emergency exit. Shout to get someone's attention and notify them that a handicapped person is in the stairwell with you. Do not leave the stairwell, or allow the door to close behind you.
  • Emergency Team Member should return to and remain with the handicapped person until help arrives.
  • No attempt should be made to carry non-ambulatory people down escape routes before help arrives.