Librarians: The First Responders

Daniel writes "From "In Pasco County, Florida, library staff are literally emergency responders. They organize and run the resident information center that gets activated during storms. They share a room in the emergency management office, which has phone banks and computers, taking calls from residents if the volume of those calls overwhelms emergency services personnel.""


I suggested that to the Emergency Manager of my county when he came to talk at my (previous) library. Since we were the only library in the unincorporated part of the county I thought it would be a wonderful idea.

We have the resoruces, we have the skills and we have the desire to help. I have not heard back from him, but it has only been 22 months.

I did give a talk to the 911 operators who in my county dispatch all of the fire departments (but the police do their own) one of the operators has called me several times, about once a month, for information. Last time they needed to find the owner of a building that was on fire - well their sign was on fire. They wanted to get up into the attic to make sure there was no fire there, but it was not so bad that they had to break in - they wanted a key holder. I used (Florida Department of State Corporation lookup) to find the corporate owner of the business, found the name of the corporate officers with that and then used LexisNexis to find home phone numbers. They were able to get someone who lived a mile or two away from the business to come and unlock it. Total time less than 5 minutes. However it is not something the 911 operators have the time to do so it is nice that someone actually uses the library's services. (Well technically I don't work there anymore but you get the gist.)

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