Fire Alarm Evacuation Procedures

September 2012

The following procedures should be followed in the event of a fire or fire alarm in the Main Library Building (excluding the Undergraduate Library). The Undergraduate Library and Grainger Engineering Library Information Center follow their own procedures. Departmental libraries not located in the Main Library Building fire should handle fire emergencies according to procedures followed by the department in the respective buildings.

Alarm Procedures 

Alarms trigger automatically. When the alarm is activated, the appropriate agencies (Fire, Police) are automatically contacted.

Manual Procedures 

In the unlikely situation that the alarm is manually triggered, (e.g., in the case of visible flames, visible smoke or strange and unusual odors) the following procedures should be followed: 

The employee should immediately: 


Evacuation Procedures                        

When a Fire Alarm is sounded library employees should notify all patrons and other staff in their unit that all occupants must evacuate the building.

A staff member should clearly inform the patron of possible imminent danger to personal safety. If the patron refuses to leave the building, the staff member should continue with evacuation procedures. From a safe location call 911 to inform the police department of the location of the individual.

General Procedures 


Workers and Patrons with Disabilities 

Within each area one library staff member should take responsibility for all employee(s) and patron(s) with disabilities, particularly those in wheelchairs. The staff person is to go to the North door (Wright Street entrance) to inform fire-fighters where the persons with disabilities are located. For smaller units, two units could arrange to cooperate to help the individual(s) with disabilities during these circumstances. 

 Help the person(s) with disabilities to the safest area (i.e., area with the least amount of smoke) on the floor, preferably the North or South stairwells. The person(s) with disabilities should wait there for firefighters to help him/her from the building, if necessary. (It is not advisable for staff to attempt to move individuals with wheelchairs in or out of their wheelchair or down stairways, except as a last resort.) 

If a person with a disability is alone in a room with a phone and is not in any immediate danger, that individual should call 911 and relay the situation. If the person is in an area without a phone, he/she should proceed to a safe, smoke-free stairwell landing. 

Prominently display specific instructions for patrons with disabilities throughout the Library so that patrons are aware of evacuation procedures. See Appendix A, for special procedures regarding fire evacuation in Bookstacks for persons with disabilities. 

APPENDIX A: Special Procedures for Fire Evacuation for Patrons with Disabilities in the Bookstacks 

The Circulation and Bookstacks Department has developed special procedures for assisting patrons with disabilities in the event of a fire emergency. With the installation of the voice-over fire emergency alarm system, Circulation staff no longer search the Bookstacks for patrons with disabilities before evacuating the building themselves. Bookstacks procedures focus on providing fire fighters with as much information as possible about patrons with disabilities who may be in the Bookstacks, posting adequate signage about the location of safe stairwells, and providing a brochure for these patrons which describes emergency procedures. For patrons with disabilities who are in the Circulation Desk area at the time of a fire emergency, or who come to the desk area from inside the Bookstacks, staff procedures are the same as for other units.


Entrance Staff 


During Library hours, notify one of the following offices depending on the time of day and day of the week: 

Library Facilities Office (333-0318) 8:00am-5pm Monday-Friday


Central Circulation (333-8400) after 5pm on Monday-Friday and on weekends.




Circulation and Bookstacks has developed a brochure for patrons with disabilities which describes in detail the location of all safe stairwells in the Bookstacks to which they should go in the event of a fire emergency. The brochure also informs patrons with disabilities that upon entering the Bookstacks they are welcome to notify the desk attendant of their actual destination in the Bookstacks so that this information can be conveyed to fire fighters in the event of a fire emergency. 


Extensive signage which points out the location of safe stairwells is posted at the entrance to the Bookstacks and at all elevators.

Back to Emergency Policies

Back to Policies

Back to Office of Services