Posts Tagged ‘emergencies’

Fire Alarm

How many times does the fire alarm go off in your library? We’re running about once every six-eight months.

It’s the break room, you know. We’ve burned up something in the microwave, in the toaster, in the oven, and on the stove top. We’ve burned soup, popcorn, toast, leftovers, and cheese. No one has ever been danger. There was never a flame. Just smoke… lots and lots of smoke. And yes, where there’s smoke, there’s a fire alarm.

There’s a pad at the back of the building that has a code to be entered. But wait, we can’t key in the code until we push the button on the red box in the foyer. Or is it two buttons? No, we can’t push the buttons until we get the smoke out of the building. Are there patrons in the building? That’s right, ask the patrons to leave. That is, if they can hear us over the alarm. Oh, don’t forget, we have to call the fire alarm company (not the fire dept) to tell them it’s a false alarm. That is, if they can hear us over the alarm. Oops, they’ve changed the number. Can you direct us to the right number? Nope. Call this 800 number. Did I mention that the alarm is still sounding.

So, we prop open the back door in the break room and fan out the smoke. Fred, volunteer fireman, lives behind the library and usually cuts through the building on his way to the fire department in an emergency. On these days, if we’re open, he cuts through, waves and says he’ll be right back. Then he, and a few others walk across our street (in full regalia) to see what’s up. Nice to have them all nearby.

The smoke is gone, the red box button is pushed (it is only one now, it used to be two), the code is entered, the firemen have walk around (God bless ’em, they are always patient). We’re all clear. The patrons are invited back in. We’re back in business.

Whew. Got through another one.

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Mr. Squirrel

This all happened within a few weeks of my becoming a Branch Manager. First of all, I got a late night call from the police that the security alarm had gone off. I asked the policeman to meet me there and “check it out.” Nothing. All was quiet.

The next morning however, I arrived to find books scattered all over the floor, posters knocked over and a general bit of chaos in the children’s department. The mystery was solved when one of our Pages yelped and there, across the tops of the self-help books, was a scampering squirrel.

Naturally, he was more terrified than we were, well, except for the Page who kept running the opposite way from Mr. Squirrel’s sprints through the shelves.

So, we did the really brave thing: we called Animal Control. Actually, I felt pretty stupid, “Excuse me, can you send a van, we have a squirrel racing through the biographies.”

While we waited for the “professionals,” we did manage to corral him into the “quiet room” (also known as the magazine room) and closed the door, just in time for our public at 10 a.m. Our building is pretty old, so we actually have windows that open. So, we opened one of the windows in the quiet room and made a trail of treats to the open window, hoping for the best. We left him alone in there to gather his thoughts (and maybe his nerve).

After 30 minutes or so, I decided to keep him company. Finally, he took to the cheese trail (ok, no one had peanuts) and the next thing I knew he hopped onto the window sill and started out, but not before turning back to get the last chunk of cheese. Wise squirrel.

Oh, animal control? That’s about the time they showed up of course. And as to how he got in? We’re pretty sure he dropped through a vent in the ceiling, but we’ll never know for sure.