By Garid Faria, Administrative & Fiscal Support Specialist
A water leak or flooding due to heavy rains may occur when a roof is compromised before or during a storm, a water pipe or plumbing fixture breaks or an air conditioning component fails. This becomes a serious problem when a large amount of water is released, damaging library facilities, materials and/or equipment. Over the years, water leak incidents at the library have resulted in extensive damage to flooring and ceiling materials and may have contributed to mold issues that were very costly to fix in terms of time, effort, and money, not to mention possible health issues for building occupants.
Upon discovering a leak or flooding incident, please notify the on duty Circulation Supervisor immediately. The Circulation Supervisor is authorized to assess the situation and take immediate action to ensure safety, protect library materials and stabilize the environment during weekday or weekend hours. He or she will attempt to identify the immediate cause and/or source of the water entering or being released within the building. He/she then calls UHM Facilities at 6-7134 to report the problem and initiate an emergency repair and/or shut off the water at the source (if possible) as well as capture and remove any water that has been released. He or she will block access and post signage to keep people out of the affected area.
As a precaution, it may be necessary to disconnect or shut off the electricity to reduce the risk of electrical shock to occupants and equipment damage. Therefore, please do not enter a flooded area until the electricity has been disconnected by a UHM electrician. After hours, call Department of Public Safety (DPS) at 6-6911, and they will contact on duty UHM Facilities staff. Also, water on the tile flooring can create a slip/fall hazard for those walking by.
If the Circulation Supervisor deems the threat to be a potential collection emergency, he/she will then notify the Director and other key emergency response personnel of the situation. Circulation Supervisor and/or Director may consult with the Library’s Emergency Team to decide if further response and recovery activities are needed.
There are eight Quick Dam Flood Barriers being stored in room 121 which can be use to contain and absorb water leaks and flooding. Also, there are other tools and supplies in our Emergency Supplies Kit. Once all visible water has been removed using absorbent materials (rags, mops, etc) and and/or wet vacuumed, it may be necessary to obtain a carpet fan(s) from UHM Facilities to completely dry out the area and prevent any mold or mildew from growing on damp and/or covered surfaces, particularly under carpet or in walls (those constructed from drywall materials).
Please note that leak/overflow detector alarm lights are mounted on the makai column next to the supplies cabinet/walkway as well as above the door to Intensive Storage (room 121). In the event of an overflow from the air conditioning unit in the ceiling space above the Tech Services area or a water leak at one of the two air conditioning units mounted on the floor in 121, these devices are designed to detect and notify occupants by activating a continuous red light.
Since the activation of this light is a warning that an overflow has occurred and been detected, should it go unnoticed, ignored and/or unreported, it has the potential to cause serious property or collection damage. Therefore, as part of their training, all staff are informed of the location and purpose of these lights and what to do should they be activated. Staff with opening and closing duties, should routinely check them as part of their daily procedures. In the event they are found to be turned on. Staff should inspect these areas for water leakage/overflow and then notify the Circulation Supervisor. Otherwise, notify the library’s Administrative/Fiscal Support person so that he or she can submit a work request to address any related problems, reset the detector and initiate any follow-up repairs.