Thursday, March 25, 2010

Safety on 2 Floors

On Tuesday, March 23, Becky Plimpton, Director of the Joshua Hyde Public Library in Sturbridge, posted the following query to the MBLC "allregions" email discussion list:

We have 2 floors and the downstairs (the Youth Dept) is out of sight from the main floor. Usually there is only one staff member working in the Youth Dept at a time. This is also where the public bathrooms are. Does anyone use a "panic button" system for the staff? Something to wear around your neck - a kind of "I've fallen and can't get up" thing in case of emergency? I've tried walkie talkies in the past, but staff get tired of carrying them around and "forget" :)

A total of 2643 staff, trustees, and friends of Massachusetts Regional Library Systems subscribe to the MBLC Email Distribution Lists.  By subscribing to one of the six regional email discussion lists, one is automattically subscribed to "allregions" which enables one to communicate with thousands of colleagues in a matter of seconds.

Less than 24 hours after her post, Becky received 25 responses and shared the following helpful solutions with all:

Thank you to everyone who responded - I got over 25 emails back. Here is a summary of the responses with some unique solutions!
  • 9 libraries have panic buttons installed at the circ desks or around the library. These are generally wired directly to the police department through an existing security system.
  • 3 libraries use a phone or intercom system with code phrases. Warning: make sure all the staff are trained to know what to do when someone asks over the intercom "Is the pizza here yet?"
  • 3 libraries have portable panic buttons
  • 2 libraries issued whistles to staff
  •  2 libraries use a wireless doorbell ($15 at Home Depot - genius!) to alert other staff
  • 1 uses a boat horn
  • 4 don't use anything, but think they perhaps should
  • I think everyone agrees that the best solution would be to have 2 staff members on every floor.

Editor's Notes:
  1. See Also "Safety/Disaster Library Policies & Plans"
  2. Be sure to check the MBLC "AllRegions" Email List Archives as the discussion on this topic continues

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