Procedures for Campus Emergency Situations

If a disaster occurs, regular contact should be maintained with UT Police:

San Antonio                       911 or 210-567-2800

Harlingen                            956-365-8900

Laredo                                  956-523-7414

The following Library Administration personnel should be notified that 911 has been dialed, during or after business hours:

 

Executive Director of Libraries Rajia Tobia
Director of Library and Outreach Services Jonquil Feldman
Head of Library Technology Eric Willman
Head of Collection Resources John Weed
Asst. Dir., Digital and Special Collections Anne Comeaux
Library Administrator Herlinda Howard

 

Staff Emergency Contact Information is on the Staff Intranet (not publicly available).

Procedures for Emergency Campus Situations

 

Active Shooter

If approached by a threatening person in the library or if a threatening situation is observed between staff and/or library users, staff members should either call the University Police (911 or 210-567-2800) directly or alert another staff member to do so.

If the person is directly in front of you or near the phone, the code for alerting police and other staff that there is a physical threat involved is to ask for Form 10-33.  A Panic Button located at the Circulation Desk will ring directly at the UT Police station.

If an active shooter (person carrying a weapon and/or actively engaged in shooting) is in the building, evacuate if possible. If unable to evacuate or if unsure where the shooter is, hide in a safe place where the shooter is less likely to find you.  Staff offices and most classrooms are best because they can be locked from inside.  Once in a safe place, call UT Police and explain the situation. Silence all cell phones and pagers.

If a suspect is in the vicinity, the university will notify the campus through HSC Alerts. Follow directions on how to react. If directed to evacuate the building and/or campus, grab your wallet/purse, lock your office door and evacuate immediately through the nearest exit and help others to escape, if possible.

More information can be found in this Active Shooter Pocket Card.

Biological Agents

Biological agents are organisms or toxins that have illness-producing effects on people, livestock and crops.  Because biological agents cannot necessarily be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred.  If government officials become aware of a biological attack through an informant or warning by terrorists, they would most likely instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.  A person affected by a biological agent requires the immediate attention of professional medical personnel.  Some agents are contagious, and victims may need to be quarantined.  Also, some medical facilities may not receive victims for fear of contaminating the hospital population.  Contact UT Police, or Environmental Health & Safety officers and Library Administration.  Library Administration will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team.

Bomb Explosion

Evacuate the building.  If items are falling off bookshelves or from the ceiling, get under a sturdy table or desk until it is safe to leave the building.  Call University Police at 911. Contact Library Administration.  They will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team.

Bomb Threat

When responding to a phone-in bomb threat, remain calm and take the blow-listed steps. Get as much information from the caller as possible. Keep the caller on the line and take notes on everything that is said.  If you have caller ID, note the phone number of caller. The following specific questions should be asked of the caller, even though it is unlikely the caller will provide personal information:

  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • Where is the bomb right now?
  • What does the bomb look like?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Did you place the bomb?
  • Why did you place the bomb?
  • Where are you calling from?
  • What is your address?
  • What is your name?
  • What is your phone number?

Write down the exact words of the call. Include any slang, jargon, or other distinctive words used.  Record the time that the call was received, the time the bomb is supposed to explode, and the time the call ends. Be alert to the characteristics of the caller’s voice and the background noises of the call.   Record the following information:

  • Male or female
  • Estimated age
  • Tone of voice
  • Accent
  • Background noises
  • Is the voice familiar?

If the caller allows conversation to continue, try to get to another telephone to alert the telephone operator.  Do not hang up because the operator may be able to assist in tracing the call.

After you have notified UT Police of a bomb threat, do not touch any suspicious packages.  Evacuate the building.

Chemical Agents

Chemical agents are poisonous gases, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants.  Most chemical agents cause serious injuries or death.  Severity of injuries depends on the type and amount of the chemical agent used, and the duration of exposure.

In the event of a chemical agent attack, seek shelter immediately.  Do not leave the shelter to assist others as you could be fatally harmed.  Contact UT Police, or Environmental Health & Safety officers and Library Administration.  Library Administration will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team.

Fire

If you notice or detect smoke or fire:

  • Activate the alarm, if it has not already been activated
  • Call the University Police (911)—they will call the fire department
  • Evacuate the area

If the alarm sounds, it is the responsibility of University Police to investigate its source.  If the alarm is not silenced within one minute execute evacuation procedures.

Flooding (Broken Pipes, etc.)

If you detect leaks or water damage to library materials, or if you enter a flooded area of the library, contact the Library Administration, who will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team. Also contact Facilities Management immediately.

Procedures:

  • Do not touch or step into standing water—it could be electrified
  • Do not touch a person who has been electrocuted.  Dial 911 for help.
  • Do not touch or move wet books or other materials unless directed.
  • Locate the water source.  If water is coming from above, cover the ranges with plastic sheeting. Get the emergency plastic from the disaster materials storage area (5th floor – storage room by kitchen or emergency supply cabinet near staff elevators on the 3rd floor) and cover any materials, equipment, etc. that might get damaged.
  • Place plastic buckets or waste baskets under leaks.  Trash cans may be used to collect water.
  • Coordinate with Facilities Management to reduce temperature and relative humidity and increase air circulation to reduce the chance of mold.  Use portable fans to increase air circulations.  Monitor temperature and humidity throughout the recovery process.  Conditions are normal when temperature is 72 degrees F and relative humidity is 40-50%.  Higher levels may cause mold.
  • Contact specially trained recovery experts at BMS Catastrophe (1-800-433-2940, or 210-542-4180-cell).
  • If the recovery experts cannot help due to widespread disaster, follow the directions for recovering wet books and records in Appendix 4 and Appendix 5.

Hazardous Materials Spills/Incidents
UT Health Science Center has a pre-arranged contract with Eagle Environmental, 1-800-336-0909. Contact the Library Administration Chain of Command, who will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team. Also contact Facilities Management immediately.

Hurricanes, Tropical Storms and Tornadoes

Hurricane season for the Gulf Coast is generally from June through November, although hurricanes may develop at any time. During a violent storm, UT Health Science Center will be responsible for protecting any building, structure or equipment owned by the Health Science Center.  UT Health Science Center will maintain parking operations until weather conditions indicate the need to temporarily close the parking garages and lots.  Parking operations and campus streets will be opened as soon as weather conditions allow for the inspection of structures and the clearing of debris from the streets.

In the event of an imminent hurricane threat, notification will be provided through HSC Alerts, on the UT Health Science Center website at http://www.uthscsa.edu/status.asp,or by calling 210-567-SNOW. Local news and radio stations will provide current status updates.

The Texas Division of Emergency Preparedness website at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem for information on evacuations, road conditions, and shelters.  Click the Emergency Operations link on the left then select State Operations Center (SOC) Situation Reports and look for the link to the hurricane.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Tornado Warning (San Antonio):

  • Look out for HSC Alerts and stay tuned to WOAI (1200 AM) for information
  • Only UT Police, the Fire Chief, or Environmental Health & Safety officers are authorized to advise when it is safe to evacuate the campus
  • Turn off all electronic equipment, especially computers
  • Follow departmental evacuation procedures in Appendix 6. If a tornado is imminent, instruct building occupants to evacuate to the 2nd floor classrooms of the Briscoe Library or other windowless rooms, crouch down and place arms over heads for protection.
  • Try to secure the items on the List of Most Rare and Valuable Books (not available to the public) if not already on hand.
  • Do not use the elevators
  • Stay away from windows and doors
  • Use flashlights, not candles or kerosene lamps, as a source of light

Staff should:

  • Lock the Library and leave
  • Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going
  • Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.

After a Hurricane, Tropical Storm or Tornado has passed:

  • Return to the Library only after UT Health Science Center authorities (HSC Alert or 210-567-SNOW) or Library Administration advise that it is safe to do so
  • If power, telephones and/or water are shut off, the Library will follow the Policies for Emergency Closure. Facilities Management will be responsible for restoring electricity and water services. Systems and Network Operations (SNO) will be responsible for restoring phone and network connections
  • Staff from Library Technology, working with Computing Resources and SNO, will be responsible for restoring computer servers and networks
  • Take pictures of the damage for insurance claims and the Library’s archives
  • Use telephones only for emergency calls

Library Administration will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team

Mail Handling

Identifying Suspicious Packages and Envelopes

Some characteristics of suspicious packages and envelopes include the following:

  • Inappropriate or unusual labeling
  • Excessive postage
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Strange return address or no return address
  • Incorrect titles or title without a name
  • Not addressed to a specific person
  • Marked with restrictions, such as “Personal,” “Confidential,” or “Do not x-ray”
  • Marked with any threatening language
  • Postmarked from a city or state that does not match the return address
  • Appearance
  • Powdery substance felt through or appearing on the package or envelope
  • Oily stains, discolorations, or odor
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Excessive packaging material such as masking tape, string, etc.

Other suspicious signs

  • Excessive weight
  • Ticking sound
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil

If a package or envelope appears suspicious, DO NOT OPEN.  Contact Library Administration before proceeding to do anything.

Handling of Suspicious Packages or Envelopes

  • Do not shake or empty the contents of any suspicious package or envelope
  • Do not carry the package or envelope, show it to others or allow others to examine it
  • Notify a supervisor who will then decide whether to contact the Library Administration and UT Police.
  • Alert others in the area about the suspicious package or envelope
  • Leave the area, close any doors, and take actions to prevent others from entering the area
  • WASH hands with soap and water to prevent spreading potentially infectious material to face or skin

 

Pandemic

In the event of a pandemic, as determined by either government or university officials, notification will be provided through HSC Alerts, on the UT Health Science Center website at http://www.uthscsa.edu/status.asp,or by calling 210-567-SNOW.

For lesser pandemic levels, the library should institute the following measures to decrease the likelihood of the spread of disease:

  • Look out for HSC Alerts or call 210-567-SNOW to find out existing conditions at UT Health Science Center. Local news stations will also provide current status information.
  • Library staff will notify the public of any closures and status of the library through Web site updates, phone messages, social media and signs.  The library will consult with university administration regarding campus status throughout the pandemic.
  • CDC travel restrictions and recommendations will be followed by all staff
  • Staff who are sick will stay home in voluntary isolation. Library staff will follow university guidelines for use of sick leave.
  • Staff with sick family members will also stay home in voluntary quarantine.  Library staff will follow university guidelines for use of sick leave.
  • Staff should wear masks and gloves to prevent the spread of germs if recommended by the CDC.  Hand shaking should be discouraged and cough etiquette encouraged.
  • Hand sanitation supplies will be provided to public users of keyboards and discarded afterwards
  • Staff will stay isolated from each other as much as possible.  Staggered shifts and/or telecommuting will be encouraged.
  • If pandemic worsens, only designated essential employees will come to work.  Generally, library personnel are not considered essential employees, however, depending on the severity of the pandemic and directions from campus administration, some library personnel may be asked to report to work.

Power Failure

Call University Police at 911 or 210-567-2800

Library Evacuation Team members should check the building for people stuck in an elevator or in an un-lit area, in case the emergency lighting system fails.  At least one staff member should be positioned near the Library entrance to ensure security of library materials.

If after business hours, the Executive Director of Libraries or the Director of Briscoe Library and Outreach Services should be contacted.

Follow Policies for Emergency Closure.

Restraining Orders

UT Police should be notified of any restraining orders, at the discretion of the staff member involved.  Library Administration and Circulation staff should also be notified.

Stalking or obscene or sexually harassing emails should be forwarded to UT Police.  If the offense involves UT Health Science Center staff, Bonnie Blankmeyer, Institutional Employees Adviser should also be notified.

Telephone Service Disruption

  • An email should be sent to SNO: tn-customerservice@uthscsa.edu
  • If after business hours, use a cell phone to call University Police at 567-2800
  • The library will not close as long as there is access to a mobile phone to call UT Police

Terrorism and Bioterrorism

Terrorists look for visible targets where they can avoid detection before or after an attack such as international airports, large cities, major international events, resorts, and high-profile landmarks.  In the case of terrorist activity, staff should do the following:

  • Be familiar with Emergency Evacuation Procedures
  • Know where fire exits are located
  • Know where fire extinguishers are located, and how to use them
  • Keep the disaster and first aid supplies in a designated place in the library.

 

Theft

Report any theft of materials or equipment to the University Police at 567-2800 and notify library administration.

What to do if you are a victim of a crime on campus:

  • Contact University Police immediately. Inform the Police Communications Officer (PCO) of the description and direction of travel taken by the criminal, if known.
  • Remember all you can about the criminal and relay that information to the PCO, such as: race/sex, clothing description, height/weight, color of hair/eyes, any unusual features or jewelry and description of the vehicle.
  • Do not confer with other individuals who may have been involved in the incident or allow anyone in or near the area where the incident took place.
  • Reporting in some incidents may be confidential.
  • Notify Library Administration of any incidents.

Vandalism

If a report of vandalism is received, go to the scene of the incident and assess the situation.  Contact UT Police, Library Administration and the Disaster Team Leader and describe the damage.  Also contact Environmental Health & Safety officers if there is a perceived danger or health risk. Close off the area.  If the incident is reported by a witness, be sure the witness(es) remain to provide a statement.

As soon as possible after the incident, the Disaster Team Leader will work with Library Administration on the following:

  • If there is damage to walls, floors, electrical or data connections, or other parts of the building, send a work request to Facilities Management for a cost estimate to repair damages or clean up the area.  Include in the description, that the estimate is needed for a police investigation.
  • If there is damage or destruction to property, including furniture or equipment, work with Library Administration to determine the purchase price or request a vendor estimate for the replacement cost.
  • Forward cost estimates to UT Police.  This information will be used in investigation and/or prosecution of the case.
  • If the vandalism was caused by a UT Health Science Center student, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Director of Student Services, and the Associate Dean for Students of the appropriate school will be notified.
  • Follow up with UT Police to determine when we can proceed with repairs and when the area can be opened up for use, if it was sealed.

Water shut down

If a planned water shut down is to occur, Facilities Management will notify the Library Administration.  Library staff will be notified and Access Services staff will post “Closed” signs at restrooms on all floors of the building.  If the shut down is for more than 6 hours, the Executive Director of Libraries will determine whether the library should be closed. The determination will be based upon the location of the nearest working restrooms.

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