Severe Weather Guidelines

General Principals

Remain calm.
Stay away from windows.
Use good judgement. Think before you act.

A “watch” is issued when conditions become favorable for severe weather. Monitor weather conditions by internet or by listening to a local radio station.

A “warning” is issued when severe weather is occurring or is imminent. The Emergency Weather Alert Radio with SAME Technology (Specific Area Message Encoding) will activate. The preprogramed warning area includes Green Lake, Columbia, and Marquette counties.

When the severe weather warning is issued, begin evacuation to shelter area in lower level.

Notify patrons of the warning for severe weather. The Library is considered CLOSED for service. Adults must either evacuate to lower level or they may leave the building. Do not use elevator. The entry doors are left open to allow people to seek shelter.

Unaccompanied minors must stay in the Library unless directed otherwise by parent or legal guardian. Law enforcement may be called to assist if necessary.

The shelter area is on the lower level, on either side of the elevator and also the lower level restrooms. This area has emergency lighting when power is lost. Patrons who are unable to use stairs must move to upper level restroom.

If time and situation allows, take a portable phone and a portable radio with you to the lower level.

Depending on the situation (i.e. distance from the severe weather, number of staff on duty, etc.) staff may use discretion to choose to stay upstairs to direct new arrivals to shelter area.

The city “siren” will sound when the city is in the projected path of severe weather. Everyone in the building must evacuate to designated shelter area immediately.

Do not use elevator.

Library may resume regular activities at the discretion of staff when it appears that severe weather has passed.


Do not panic, but do not under-estimate the potential danger to customers or staff represented by a fire. At the first indication of smoke or flame, investigate the situation to determine location and extent of the fire. If the fire can obviously be contained and extinguished quickly and safely by staff, proceed to do so. However, if there is any doubt about whether the fire can be controlled, immediately call 911 or the fire department and then clear the building. When clearing the building ask staff and patrons to meet at the Horicon Bank entrance across the street from the library to do a head count and to help identify if anyone is yet in the library.

The time to think about fires is before they happen. Familiarize yourself with the type, location, and application of the fire extinguisher(s) in the building. Orient all staff and volunteers to this information. If you share a building with another agency and it occasionally initiates fire drills, library staff should respect those training exercises and respond as they would in the case of a real fire.

Health emergencies:

Staff members should exercise caution when administering first aid of even a minor nature because of the safety of the injured individual and the potential liability of the staff member. Without specialized training it is not advisable for staff to undertake more than keeping the sick or injured patron comfortable and protected from needless disturbance until medical help can be obtained. Since each case is unique, staff members should use their own judgement to do what is prudent and reasonable.

There is an AED located under the front desk.

The Rescue Squad/Police (911 if available) should be called immediately in the event of any serious problem.

No medication, including aspirin, should ever be dispensed to the public.

Bomb threats:

Keep the caller on the line as long as possible. Ask the caller to repeat the message and try to write down every word spoken by the person.

If the caller does not indicate the location of the bomb or the time of possible detonation, ASK FOR THIS INFORMATION.

Pay particular attention to peculiar background noises such as motors running, background music and any other sounds which may indicate where the location from which the call is originating.

Listen closely to the voice (male, female), voice quality (calm, excited), accents and speech impediments.

Immediately after the caller hangs up, call the police. Clear the building. The police will handle the actual bomb search.

Snow storms:

The Library will follow the recommendation and actions of the city (or village) between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Closing during other days and hours will be at the discretion of the Library Director.

As a rule of thumb, the Library will close when the school district closes. The Library Director may use his/her discretion beyond this rule and may give staff the same discretion when staff works alone.

Epidemics & Other Disasters:

In cases of epidemics when the community is infected with wide-spread illness or the staff is infected with wide-spread illness, the Library Director may at his/her discretion close the library or reduce services in the short term to maintain the safety of the staff and the public. If possible, the Library Director will first attempt to consult with the Library Board President. Longer closures (more than a week) require the decision of the Library Board, unless a quorum of board members cannot be achieved. When a quorum of board members cannot be achieved due to the disaster the Library Director has the right to close the library for a longer period (more than a week) until a quorum of board members can be achieved.

Other types of disasters which follow the above rule of emergency closure, include any that severely compromise the availability of staff or render the building unsafe. (insect infestations, community wide disaster, carbon monoxide, etc.) When the building is unsafe and in need of immediate closure, the most senior staff member present at the time can close the library for a day.

The Library will follow the public health orders or any orders issued by the city, state and/or federal government when issued that include library closure or reduction of its services.

In disasters when the building is intact, the library may be repurposed by the city as a place of shelter or food distribution or in some other necessary capacity.

During an extended closure, the Director will set a schedule for seeing to the critical needs of the facility (boiler and building checks, book drop, payroll and banking considerations). The library will also continue to provide information services for the public, such as digital reference, online materials access and expansion of other online resources when possible. The library will also work with the city to provide information to the public about the ongoing disaster, the available resources, and the city’s response.

The Library Board values its staff and their safety and well-being. In general, city and library personnel policy will be followed. But the board has the right to make special policy or motions or provisions regarding staff pay, hours, duties, use of sick leave, use of vacation leave, remote work, etc. in response to a mandatory shutdown or a limiting of services.

Reopening the library and reinstating services will be at the Library Director’s discretion, according to when the library and its resources (including staff) is deemed safe to the public again and reopening follows whatever city, state and/or federal orders that may be in place. Again, the Library Director will consult with the Library Board President when possible first.

In all cases, when the Library Director is temporarily unable to perform his/her duties or permanently unable to perform duties, the Library Board President can make decisions or delegate that duty to the next senior staff member available to be in charge.

Approved 5/21/2020