staff safety page

*See Also the Problem Patrons Section

Workplace violence can occur anywhere, at any time.  This may include an intruder threatening staff. 


If a person is shouting, swearing, or threatening:

  • Attend to the persons need to be heard

  • Signal for a co-worker to call police (Do not call yourself while talking to the person)

  • Acknowledge the person's feeling of anger, hurt, etc.

If the person is threatening with a weapon.  Use your own best judgement:

  • Alert authorities if possible

  • Stay calm and signal for help if possible

  • Maintain eye contact

  • Stall for a time, try to keep them talking

  • Do not argue with the person--do what they say

  • Do not attempt to disarm the person

  • If you have the opportunity to escape or hide, do so if you can do it quickly, safely, and quietly

In the event of a bomb threat: 

  • Note all information the caller gives you, such as details of the caller's speech, background noise, etc. 

  • Call 911 immediately and evacuate the building. 

  • DO not move or inspect an unclaimed package. 

  • Police or fire departments will determine if it is safe to re-enter the building.



Follow these instructions (IN ORDER) to keep you safe when encountering BLOOD, FECES, URINE or VOMIT.  (There are kits with the tools and PPE do this--located near the cleaning supplies)

  •  Using a wet floor sign (or other barrier), block of the affected area until the site is clean and dry.

  •  Be sure to protect yourself by wearing  the provided apron, face mask, and nitrile gloves. *Wash hands before putting these items on.

  •  Sprinkle kitty litter over the spill and let stand for at least 1 minute or until the spill is completely clumped.

  • If the kitty litter can not be used in an effective manner, wipe away the substance with a paper towel.

  •  Remove the substance with the provided scraper (if kitty litter used) or paper towel and place in a new trash bag.

  • Seal the bag tightly and place into a 2nd trash bag.  Do not seal the 2nd bag quite yet.

  • Spray disinfectant over the area and wipe with a paper towel.  Discard the dirty paper towels into the unsealed trash bag.

  • Once the spill is clean and dry, place all affected materials (apron, gloves, mask) into the trash bag.  *Remove the gloves last and make sure not to get anything on your skin.

  • Tightly seal the trash bag and dispose of according to state regulations (in dumpster outside).

  • Wash hands thoroughly with hand soap for 20 seconds.  Dry hands. Remove signs and open affected area.

Example video of the above directions

(though slightly different as we do not have this specific clean-up kit)



If you see someone that you suspect has overdosed: 

  • Immediately call 911

  • Do not touch the person without nitrile gloves (there could be fatal traces of fentanyl that could absorb through your skin)

  • Wait for the police or ambulance

If you find hypodermic needles:

  • Wear nitrile gloves

  • Pick up syringe using metal tongs

  • Place in red Sharps container or empty plastic detergent bottle and seal tightly

  • Call the police and report



If you are witness to a small fire or smoking materials that could easily be put out with a fire extinguisher please do so. 

Emergency Evacuation of the Library should take place in the event of:

  • Any suspicious electric or gas smell  

  • Large amounts of smoke or fire that is spreading

    • Please evacuate all patrons from the library even if you are putting out a small fire with the extinguisher​

    • Call 911 immediately on ANY occasion of smoke or fire (so they can make sure everything is out)

*There are many instances where we smell natural gas in the library.  It is NORMAL in many cases, especially after turning on the furnace after long periods of time.  When in doubt, please call the Columbia Gas Company or the village admin. and have them check.

When evacuating the library, please BE CALM and follow these procedures:

  • Call 911 and state the nature of the emergency

  • Announce the emergency to all staff and patrons

  • Evacuate everyone from the building following the nearest exit that is uncompromised

  • Meet in a designated area and make sure everyone is accounted for

    • Elmore Designated area: Methodist Church parking lot (next door)​

    • Genoa Designated area: Rayz Parking Lot

  • Follow the instructions of the emergency responders and do not enter the building until given clearance

Please be mindful of these common fire starters in the workplace:

  • Space Heaters (please turn them off and unplug them when not in use)

  • Turning off appliances after use

  • Overloaded outlets and power strips

  • Frayed electrical wiring/cording

  • Mounds of paper or boxes near appliances, electrical outlets, heat sources, or chemicals.

  • Flammable liquids not contained/sealed or near heat/electrical sources

  • Do not block exits with physical items




  • Call 911 for ALL medical emergencies

  • If you need to perform CPR, there is NO REASON to breathe into their mouth. Just continue to do chest compressions according to the video.  A good rhythm is the the beat of "Staying Alive".

  • The FIRST AID KIT is located on the wall of the staff lounge at both libraries


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If you believe that a patron may need some help or may be harmful to themselves or others, you can get a hold of a CIT Officer (Crisis Intervention Trained) and ask them to do a wellness check.  The Elmore Chief of Police (Jeff Harrison) is a CIT officer.








In the event of a devastating tornado, fire, or other disaster, the Board of Trustees will convene as soon as possible to determine the amount of damage, and discuss possible options for location and/or rebuilding.  Emergency personnel, community leaders, and experts in pertinent fields may be invited to such a meeting.

The Director will inform the Board of Trustees and Fiscal Officer as soon as possible after the occurrence.  If the Director is incapacitated, the responsibility of informing Trustees and vendors and serving as the go-between with contractors and media will fall to the Assistant Director Or Genoa Branch Manager if Asst. Director has not been appointed.

The Board of Trustees will determine what actions will be taken regarding reconstruction, relocating, etc.  Staff is expected to exercise common sense and good judgement in the case of an emergency and should not put themselves in imminent danger if it can be avoided.

In case of building damage at the Elmore location, The Director and Coordinator of Technical Services will report for work at the Genoa location.  In case of damage at the Genoa site, the Branch Manager and Clerk III will report to the Elmore site.  Other employees should await additional information and instructions before reporting to work.


The Library will CLOSE when there is a LEVEL 3 Snow Emergency declared for Ottawa County.  


Level 2 Snow Emergencies for Ottawa County may result in closure of the library at the discretion of the Library Director for reasons of safety to library staff and patrons.

Every attempt will be made to re-open the facilities as soon as practicable.  If the libraries are open and weather conditions begin deteriorating, the decision may be made to close early.  Staff should follow regular closing procedures, contact staff who may be assigned a later shift and make sure that unaccompanied minors have safe passage home before leaving the libraries.



In case of a TORNADO, staff and patrons inside the library should take immediate shelter in the area of the library designated safest by the Fire Department.  

ELMORE LIBRARY:  Men's & Women's Restrooms                  GENOA LIBRARY:  Magazine Room

If a tornado warning is sounded, staff should:

  • Notify all staff and patrons

  • Announce where the tornado shelter is located and proceed there immediately

  • Help those that need assistance

  • Take cell phones to the shelter so that emergency personnel can be alerted if necessary

Once the storm has passed, staff and patrons should evacuate the building, if it is damaged and follow the instructions of emergency responders.  If the building is not damaged, the staff should continue to monitor the news and weather alerts to warn of additional storms.

If unaccompanied minors are present at the time of the incident, all efforts should be taken to contact the parents or guardians of those minors.  

Staff should not prevent patrons from leaving the building if those patrons so prefer.


In the event of an earthquake, take shelter under sturdy tables or desks or under an interior doorway.  Stay away from windows. 


Evacuate the building when the shaking stops, remembering that aftershocks generally follow large earthquakes. 


The most common cause of flooding is water due to rain that accumulates faster than soils can absorb it or rivers can carry it away. Flooding can occur due to:

  • prolonged rain falling over several days,

  • when intense rain falls over a short period of time, or 

  • when debris or ice jam causes a river or stream to overflow onto the surrounding area.

Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move. Flash flooding is the most dangerous type of flooding by far, due to the sheer force and volume of flowing water that can accumulate.

When a flood warning is issued, evacuate. Head for higher ground and stay there until you are told that the area is safe.

  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can sweep you off your feet. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

  • “Turn around, don’t drown!” If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. People underestimate the force and power of water.

  • Keep children out of the water.

Driving in Floods

Half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.

  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way.

  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

    • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.

    • One foot of water will float many vehicles.

    • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles—including SUVs and pick-up trucks.


  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.

  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.

  • Avoid moving water.

  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.

  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power company.

  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.

  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.

  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.

  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

What are the time-critical issues in dealing with wet books?

Mold will begin to bloom on wet paper in as little as 72 hours after exposure and will spread rapidly unless the books are dried and the humidity in the area where they are shelved is reduced to below 55% relative humidity (RH). The pages of wet books with glossy, clay-coated paper will stick together as they dry forming a single block of stuck pages unless the pages are separated and dried by interleaving them with paper towels to wick out the water.


What should I do first?

• Ensure that the library’s HVAC climate control system is working normally. This will help reduce the chance of a mold outbreak and help wet materials dry faster.

• Assess the extent of the overall damage to the collection. Make a note of how many floors, shelf ranges, or areas of the building have wet materials. Note damage to historic, special collection, or high-demand collection items. The number of books affected by the disaster will be a factor in deciding whether they can be dried in house or will need to be sent to a commercial disaster recovery service.  

• The Director is in charge of directing the work of staff and volunteers working to recover the collection. 

• The Director will respond to questions about the disaster from members of the media. Staff and volunteers should direct questions from the media to the Director if appropriate.

• Set up a work area with tables or clean and dry floor space where you can work with the books and prop books upright for drying. Additional electrical power may be needed for work lights and electric fans to circulate the air. Extension cords for this power should be routed on a dry floor so that they won’t become a shock or tripping hazard.


How do I assess and recover wet books and other collection materials?

Begin by assessing damage to historic, special collection, or high-demand collection items. Rubber gloves should be worn when handling wet books, especially if the books are wet from flood water or if the books are covered with mud or other debris from damage to the building. Books and other collection materials will be wet in varying degrees from damp to soaked.


Soaked: Books that were completely submerged in water or books where water has completely penetrated the cover boards and pages. Books that are soaked will not dry in normal humidity conditions before they begin to mold. For this reason, they should be packed for shipment to a commercial freezer either by prior arrangement or through a disaster recovery service.


Wet: Books with water staining to the text block, binding, folder, or pages more than one half inch in from the edges, but are not soaked. Paper towels or unprinted newspaper can be used to interleave between the pages of wet books. Interleave approximately every 16 pages, starting from the back of the book, turning pages carefully. Do not interleave too much or the spine will become concave and the volume distorted. A good rule of thumb is to insert no more than one-third of the number of text pages. Close the book gently and place it flat on several sheets of paper towels or newspaper. Change the interleaving paper frequently. When the book is slightly wet, stand the book upright to finish drying. This is especially critical for books with clay coated paper that will stick together if allowed to dry without interleaving.


Slightly Wet: Books with water staining to the text block, binding, folder, or pages no more than one-half inch in from the edges.


Damp: Books that feel cool to the touch, but do not have visible water staining. If the book is damp or slightly wet, the book may be stood on end and fanned open slightly in a space with good air circulation, but again, do not aim fans directly at the books. To minimize distortion of the edges of the text block, place volumes in a press or press under a board with a weight just before drying is complete. Paper or cloth-covered bricks work well for weights.


Dry: Books that are dry should also be removed from the affected area until all standing water is removed and the humidity is lowered. If left untouched on shelves, these books will soak up the high humidity in the air and may begin to mold.


Cleaning Books: Books that are soaked to wet and covered with mud or debris can be rinsed in clean water. Fill three tubs with clean water. Hold the book tightly shut in your hands. With the spine of the book turned away from you, quickly pass the book through the water lifting it out so that the spine of the book leaves the water first. An additional quick pass in the second and third tub of water may be needed. This technique allows the water to flow over the book while preventing dirt from getting between the pages. Change the water in the tubs frequently. Use fans to keep the air moving at all times in the area where the books are drying. This will accelerate the drying process and discourage mold growth. Aim the fans to direct the airflow parallel to the drying volumes to avoid damaging fragile pages. Take extra care to be sure that the books are completely dry before returning them to the shelves to avoid a later mold outbreak