As adopted by the Board of Trustees, Hepburn Library of Madrid, April 12, 2018, updated December 9, 2019, and reviewed and revised February 2024.

First action is always to assess patron/employee safety and act accordingly. Act to protect lives, then physical property.

Elicit help from any available person in the area.

Emergency Preparedness: 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.


At the first indication of smoke or flames, clear the building.  Do not panic, but do not underestimate the potential danger to patrons or staff represented by a fire. 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 or is completely extinguished, immediately call 911. This applies particularly to electrical fires, where wires may smolder in walls with no apparent flame.

Clear the building:

Calmly announce to patrons that they must evacuate the building and instruct them to walk to the grass on the opposite side of the parking lot, next to the skating shed.

Walk through the library and check the bathrooms to be sure everyone has exited the building.  If a second employee is present, have that person clear the Community Room and report back to you. Do a manual count of how many people are evacuated.

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 judgment to do what is prudent and reasonable.

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.

Flooding and Water Leaks

If an area is found to be flooded, clear the area and secure it from entry to prevent the possibility of electric shock. Notify the Director and the Custodian. If it is a large leak, it may be necessary to notify the town. Small leaks are also to be reported. Immediate action may be taken to protect library material if the threat of electric shock is not present. 

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.

Suspicious Package

A suspicious package may have no return address, excessive postage, stains, strange odor, strange sounds, unexpected delivery, be poorly handwritten, contain misspelled words, incorrect titles, foreign postage, or restrictive notes; and may be left unattended in a restroom, under a desk, in a corner, or on a shelf. Do not touch or move a suspicious package. Notify the Director and if the Director is unavailable, calmly evacuate the building and notify the police/fire department from outside.

Dangerous Person in the Building

If there is a dangerous person in the building and the Community Room is in use, call the Community Room over the intercom or discreetly notify the staff to secure patrons as quickly and quietly as possible to a safe location that can be locked. Employees should ask/signal patrons to cease talking and sit quietly in their space until library staff, police, or other official unlocks the door to release them. Meanwhile, any employee who has phone access should immediately call 911.

Electric Shock

Do not approach the victim if the hazard of shock is still present. Secure the area. Attempt to remove the source of the shock if possible with insulated material (dry, wooden broom handle, etc.) or open the electrical circuit at the main breaker. Start CPR and summon ambulance. Notify the Director.

Toxic Fumes (Real or suspect) including Gas leaks

Evacuate the area and summon the fire department. Remove any affected person to a ventilated area and give resuscitation if necessary. Notify the Director. 

Drug and psychiatric emergencies

Don’t argue with anyone who appears to be experiencing a drug or psychiatric crisis. Be alert to the possibility of violence. One staff member should engage the person in conversation and patiently listen while another calls the police and the Director. A lone staff member should call the police and the Director and attempt to continue talking with the person until help arrives. Notify the Director.

Power Outage

In the event of a power outage at the Library, staff, headed by the Director, is to observe the following procedure: during daylight hours, library staff should plan to remain open for one hour in the eventuality that power is restored within that time frame, and full service may be resumed. The Director will call National Grid at 1-800-465-1212 using a cell phone to advise them of the outage and to determine if power will be restored shortly (or if possible, look at National Grid’s online outage map). Best judgement regarding closing the library is to be used, if the library is relying on the generator. Road conditions may necessitate closure. 


The Library will follow the recommendation and actions of the city (or village and take into consideration school closings), 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.

** Any emergency closures will be indicated on the Hepburn Library of Madrid website whenever possible, as well as in any available local news sources. **

General Issues and preparedness

Every library staff member is responsible for observing the surroundings and reporting problems with the building to the Library’s Director and/or Board of Trustees. Particular attention should be paid to leaks, obstructions, unstable shelving, broken equipment, and other potential safety hazards.

Employees should:

1.         Have a flashlight available and check flashlight batteries bi-annually.

2.         Be aware of the posted Building Emergency Plans location.
3.         Be aware of the fire extinguishers locations. 4.         Know emergency evacuation procedures.


Type of Emergency:



Fire Department-911




Town: Bill Barkley Jr.(D)
Or Town: Zoe Hawkins at 315-322-5760 


National Grid: To report a gas emergency, call 1-800-892-2345 or 911.
To report an outage, call 1-800-867-5222. 

Return to the main policy page