Library Tip Tuesday: Library Emergency Procedures and You

by Philina Richardson

As part of a new blog series, every other Tuesday the Library will bring you helpful tips for using your library more effectively. To kick things off, our first tip is an overview of campus and library emergency procedures, and what you should do in the event of an emergency.

There are a couple of emergency events that every student should be aware of, and those are fire alarms and campus lockdowns. Let’s start with fire alarms first.

Fire alarms

credit: Ben Schumin, 2011

Image credit: © Ben Schumin, 2011

You’re probably familiar with fire drills from your elementary and secondary school days, where everyone lined up and trooped outside, right?  Well, we don’t have those same drills in college, but sometimes we do have “false” alarms. In these instances, we treat the alarm as if it were the real thing, and act accordingly. In the library, this involves:

  • Making an emergency announcement over the intercom system.
  • Calling security to notify them of the alarm incident.
  • Evacuating the building.
  • Placing “CLOSED” and “DO NOT ENTER” signs in front of doorways to warn people not to enter a potentially burning building.
  • Maintaining a safe perimeter of 100 feet around the building. In the event of a real fire, it is vital that we keep bystanders away from danger.

Once campus security has determined that the building is clear to re-enter, we take down our signs and notify our patiently waiting patrons that they may re-enter the building. By treating every fire alarm as if it were the real thing, we ensure the safety of our staff and patrons.

Campus Lockdowns

Campus lockdowns occur when campus security believes that there is a safety risk to students on campus. Students, faculty, and staff who have up-to-date contact information in the university’s emergency contact system will receive emails, phone calls, or text messages (based on preferences) regarding campus safety alerts. These alerts contain valuable information and instruction regarding lockdown procedure. You can read more about lockdown procedures in general here.

In the event of a campus lockdown, the library asks all patrons and non-essential staff to move off the first floor. The front doors are locked and the lights are turned off until the all clear is given.


When dealing with an emergency situation on campus, it’s best to remain calm and follow directions from school officials. We (as university employees) only have your best interests in mind, and by taking every situation seriously, we can ensure the well-being and safety of you and those around you.

If you would like to update or review your emergency contact information, you can do so here.

If you have an idea for a Tuesday Tip post, let us know by sending an email to!

Show More
Back to top button