There is an old saying that says, “Rare things happen rarely; common things happen commonly.” Emergencies requiring special action are very rare and usually things go smoothly at OMAH. Nonetheless, because rare things can occur, all staff and volunteers need to be aware of what to do in an emergency.
Some kinds of problems/emergencies are common and easily dealt with. Examples of these include minor cuts and scrapes, or volunteers suddenly feeling unwell and having to leave.
Major problems would include a person collapsing (e.g., epilepsy, diabetic coma), a fire, extreme weather events or other such emergency.
Totally unpredictable events would include things like tornados or the museum being struck by falling space debris. The latter are very rare indeed.
There are First Aid kits in the vaults, the education room, in the kitchenette and in the shelf under the front desk phone. The kits contain antiseptic, bandages, gauze, scissors, tweezers, etc., which should take care of most minor injuries. (Should you notice that something is missing from the First Air kit, please let a staff member know so that we can re-stock.)
Major injuries, collapses, etc.:
You may provide First Aid only if you are trained to do so. Currently, all staff are trained in First Aid, so if you are not, call a staff person. While waiting, reassure the person affected that you have called for help and that someone is coming to help them. Do this even if they do not appear to be conscious.
If a child suffers an illness or injury during one of our day camps, notify a parent/guardian immediately, if they are unavailable at all numbers, leave a message and then phone the Emergency Contact. Names and contact numbers are located in a binder behind the front desk and in the Veevart database. A staff member can help you find this information.
In either case, you will need to fill out an incident report afterwards so that Museum personnel will know what happened. Also, as noted above, be sure to let us know if the First Aid kit needs to be re-stocked.
If you become ill or have to leave due to an emergency:
- If there is another volunteer or staff member in the building, inform him/her as to what has happened before you leave.
- If you are alone in the building, phone (in order) the Director/Curator, Board Chair, Volunteer co-ordinator, other staff person, etc., this is especially important if you don’t know how to set the alarm yourself. Make sure someone knows what has happened.
- If no one is available to come in before you leave, place a note on the front door advising customers that the museum is closed due to unforeseen circumstances.
- Close & lock the museum (make sure the front door is locked securely!).
- Set the alarm if you know how or make certain that someone will come in to do it for you.
If you are locked out of the Museum:
Forgetting your key is not a huge problem, simply go across the street to Shadowbox, they have a spare key that you may borrow to unlock the museum. You can now disarm the alarm and unlock the front door. Be sure to return the spare key to Shadowbox when you are finished your shift.
In case of fire:
The Museum, as per city regulations, has a fire emergency plan registered with the city. Please familiarize yourself with this, as it’s important. You will be given a copy of this document in your orientation package.
Fire safety procedures are posted in several locations around the Museum, including washrooms, the second-floor kitchenette and the front desk.
Upon discovery of fire:
• Immediately pull the nearest fire alarm.
• Notify the Fire Department by dialing 9-1-1 from the nearest safe area.
• Advise occupants of the situation and calmly advise them to leave the area, designating a safe meeting point outside the building.
• Leave the fire area immediately via the nearest exit, closing all doors and windows securely.
• Push the flame button on the security keypad at the back or south exit to sound the alarm in the basement.
• On the arrival of the Fire Department, notify them of the fire condition and location.
• Provide the Fire Department with a list and location of any person(s) missing and who may require assistance, and any person(s) who may otherwise require special assistance.
• Do not re-enter the building until it is declared safe by the Fire Department. Do not use the elevator until it is declared safe to do so by the Fire Department.
• Smoke inhalation can be very dangerous. If you encounter smoke, use an alternate exit.
• Gather outside at a safe distance from the Museum (across the street or other nearby safe area,) and try to determine if all of the people who were with you inside made it outside. Advise any people with you not to leave the area until the fire department has arrived and determined if there is anyone still present in the building. It is important to try to make sure you know where everyone is, as the fire Department personnel with try to enter the building and rescue people if they believe they are inside. This is dangerous for them, and they shouldn’t have to do it unnecessarily.
• Generally, school-age children are quite good about staying together, and the teacher will usually have a list of who is there. Adults will tend to wander off to get a coffee, so you should try to prevent this. Teenagers may try to take selfies with the Fire Department personnel and trucks, etc. The latter should be discouraged.
• Portable fire extinguishers: Small fires can be handled with a fire extinguisher. Use one of these only if trained to do so, and only if it is safe to use one. The Museum is insured, and you and others with you are more important than our artefacts.
General comment about emergencies:
The safest thing to do in an emergency is usually to exit the building in a calm and orderly manner. Direct any people with you to the emergency exits in an authoritative, but calm voice, advise them not to rush, as staircases can be dangerous.
In a word, don’t. In many emergencies, people are killed by being trampled or pushed down stairs in a panic to exit the building. Try to keep things calm and orderly.
Disabled persons and persons in wheelchairs, etc.:
Some visitors may be disabled or in wheelchairs. They may not be able to exit the building via the fire escapes and usual exits with stairs. Often the electrical system is the first thing cut off by the fire department, so elevators might not work.
The Fire Department recommends moving disabled persons to the stairwells if they are unable to evacuate. These are designed to be fire resistant and are where the Fire Department will look for them. Volunteers should remain with them if possible.
Regarding Fire Extinguishers:
From the Fire Safety Plan:
“In the event of a small fire, ensure that the fire alarm and emergency procedures have been activated. A small fire may be extinguished by the use of a portable fire extinguisher, only if the smoke or fire does not present danger to the operator, and the operator is trained. If smoke or fire presents a danger, or a person is not trained in the use of a portable extinguisher, the fire can be confined by closing the door(s) in the area, leaving via the nearest safe exit and activating PULL STATION. “