University Library Emergency Plan

Tornadoes

Tornadoes may occur in Virginia from March to October. They are not as likely to occur in mountainous regions as in more flat terrain. Along the Atlantic coast, water spouts which come onto land then become tornadoes. These violent windstorms are recognizable by the twisting funnel-shaped cloud which points downward from the base of a cloud bank and touches ground for periods of up to 20 minutes. Tornadoes move rapidly. Most likely, there will be little warning if there is a tornado; consequently, there will be little time to seek shelter.

 

Evacuation Procedures

If a tornado occurs, do not evacuate the building. If possible, persons in the building should move to the lowest level, such as the lower stacks, staying away from windows, or to an inner hallway or small inner room away from windows. Shelter should not be sought in large halls because the roof may collapse. All persons will need to seek their own protection, staying as close to the floor as possible and getting under heavy furniture, such as tables, if possible.

For further information on evacuation, see the Evacuation Team section.

 

Recovery and Recovery Resources

In addition to water damage, walls, ceilings, and shelves may collapse. When structural damage occurs, the person in charge of the over-all building maintenance needs to assess the structural damage and determine when it is safe to enter the building. Then, damage to affected materials needs to be assessed. The recovery operation for library materials may include reshelving, evaluating damage and deciding upon repair, and making decisions on individual items by subject specialists.

Hurricanes

Hurricanes may occur on the Atlantic Coast of Virginia between June and November. Damage from heavy rain and flooding as well as high winds may occur. Hurricanes are slow moving so precautions can be taken before the storm actually strikes.

 

Evacuation Procedures

Because sufficient warning can be given in a hurricane emergency, the building can be evacuated and closed before the hurricane strikes.

The following precautions should be made: rare and valuable materials can be moved to a safe place; the power can be turned off; windows should be taped to reduce the danger of flying glass; and doors should be closed. If there are people in the building when the hurricane strikes, they should move to the lowest levels of the building, such as the basement level or the lower stacks and not leave until the storm is over. A battery-powered radio should be available so that weather reports can be monitored.

 

For further information on evacuation, see the Evacuation Team section.

 

Recovery and Recovery Resources

Most damage from a hurricane will be water damage, although there is a possibility of structural damage, broken windows, and collapsed shelving. If there is structural damage, the person in charge of the over-all building maintenance needs to assess the damage and determine when it is safe to enter the building. Then, damage to affected materials needs to be assessed. The recovery operation for library materials may include surveying water damage to books and other library materials, reshelving, and deciding upon repair of

broken windows.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes may occur in Virginia. The danger from earthquakes is caused by what they do to man-made structures--debris falling from damaged buildings, flying glass from broken windows, fires caused by broken gas lines, and flooding due to broken water mains. There is no warning before an earthquake occurs. When one does strike, there is a loud rumbling noise which sounds like a train.

 

Evacuation Procedures

When an earthquake happens, the building should not be evacuated. Persons in the building should stay in the inner core of the building away from windows.

Shelter should be taken in a doorway, in a narrow corridor, or under a heavy table, desk, or bench. Exits which lead into stairways should not be used because they may have collapsed or be jammed with people. Also, be aware that after-shocks may follow for several hours or days after the earthquake. A battery-powered radio should be available so that instructions concerning the earthquake can be monitored.

 

For further information on evacuation, see the Evacuation Team section.

 

Recovery and Recovery Resources

Damage from an earthquake may include structural damage to the building, collapsed shelving, damage to equipment and furniture, water damage from broken pipes, and fire and/or smoke damage caused by broken gas lines. All damage will need to be assessed by someone in charge of building maintenance before re-entering to begin recovery operations.