Everyone at the Health Sciences Library is safe, but we are all dealing with the emotions brought upon us by the violence that took place in Charlottesville Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. Thanks to all who have checked in on us. Your concerns are comforting and much appreciated.
The Health Sciences Library took an active response role during the unrest and violence by hosting the Family Assistance Center (FAC), which is an important part of disaster planning, as it functions to support and comfort the family members of those rushed to the hospital for treatment following a Mass Casualties Incident (MCI).
Planning for the FAC has been in place now for two years, and we were hoping to never have to activate it. By late in the morning on Saturday, as opposing groups clashed less than a mile from the University, we knew that an activation was likely and we asked our patrons to relocate to other areas of the library so we could stand up the FAC. When we received word that a car had plowed through a group of protesters, planning turned into action.
Throughout the afternoon, grieving and anxious family members were brought into the FAC where they were met by social workers and chaplains. UVA Health System Telemedicine was on hand to facilitate communication between family members and health care professionals in the Emergency Room, and volunteers escorted family members to and from the FAC. At one point in the afternoon, over 20 family members were in the FAC, and chaplains and social workers were set up in group study rooms to provide comfort in a private setting. Around 7pm, word was relayed that the need for the FAC was over and the space was returned to library patrons.
Unfortunately, we can no longer hope that the FAC will never again be activated. Given the times we live in, we will now plan (and drill) for its next activation.
Again, thanks for all your expressions of comfort and support.
Assoc. Dir. Collections & Library Services
Library Liaison to the UVA School of Nursing
University of Virginia, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library