Emergency Preparedness

30 Aug

Sadly, there was an active shooter in a public library in Clovis, New Mexico on Monday afternoon. I believe this is the first time there has been a shooting in a public library and honestly, I’m shocked it hasn’t happened before now. Public libraries are just that – public which means anyone and everyone is able to enter and few libraries have security guards in place to handle a situation like this, especially smaller libraries like the one in Clovis which is a town of 40,000. It was a senseless act of violence that has left two women dead and four others seriously injured.

Yesterday, I sent out an email to my staff with our emergency preparedness notes to review. Thankfully, we haven’t had to use these notes, but by not using them we don’t always remember the details of what to do about an active shooter, a fire or medical emergency. After reviewing our notes a few staff members asked for clarification on a few points and made some suggestions that we hadn’t thought about before. I also include a link to a Run, Hide, Fight training video created by the city of Houston when dealing with an active shooter. These videos are never enjoyable to watch (obviously), but it does bring up some really great points to remember.

All I want to do by writing this is to encourage all libraries to have emergency preparedness directions planned for staff and patrons alike and hopefully you’ll never have to use them, but you’ll have them if they are needed. And if you have a emergency plan, remember to share with staff on a regular basis so that if a situation were to arise, your staff knows exactly what they should do. My heart goes out to the victims, their friends and families and the community in the wake of this tragedy. A huge thank you goes out to the local police who responded quickly and professionally to the situation in New Mexico and most likely saved the lives of other people in the building.

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