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Overview to Emergency and Security Procedures


General Procedures

First Aid:  EMTs provide advanced First Aid services. Some LZG Staff are trained in basic First Aid and CPR. Call Guest Services for on ground emergencies (-604). They will contact EMTs. We call 9-1-1 for emergency and more serious treatment needs.

Each treatment is documented by an Accident Report and/or an Incident Report. Volunteer injuries are to be reported to Volunteer Services for handling under Worker’s Compensation insurance guidelines. Injuries needing treatment beyond EMT skills are handled by Audubon Hospital.

Lost and Found:  Lost and Found items are handled by the Receptionist. Please take to Receptionist area. There are specific laws governing lost property. Do not tell the “finder” they can have an article if it is unclaimed.

Lost Child Protocol:  At facilities as large as those of the LZG, getting separated from one’s group sometimes happens. For both the child and the parent/guardian, this can be a frightening experience. If a Volunteer locates a lost child, here are a few steps to appropriately deal with the situation:

  • In a calm and friendly manner, identify yourself and tell the child that you work here (point to your uniform shirt logo).

  • Ask if they are OK. If they say, “No,” ask if they are lost. Take child to a staff person immediately.

  • If close to Admissions, take the child to the Receptionist in the Administration Building.

Do’s and Don’ts when handling a lost child situation:


  • Stay calm positive and upbeat This will keep the child calm

  • Hold the child’s hand, but only if the child accepts

  • Ask about the child’s likes/dislikes and talk about them, (favorite animal, etc.) this will keep the child’s mind off the situation

  • Always remain in sight of the public


  • Touch the child anywhere other than the hands and shoulders

  • Pick up or carry the child

  • Give out any food/candy/drink

  • Leave the child unattended without LZG for any reason

  • Relinquish custody of the child without confirmation by both guardian & child

How to give a description of a missing person:  A Volunteer may also encounter the parent/guardian of a lost child. In a missing person situation it is important to always remain professional, calm, and reassuring. If contacting Security by radio or phone, you will be asked to give a physical description of the child. Be aware of the following:

  • Name

  • Origin: (Do not assume that the child is the same race of the Parent, Guardian, or Group Leader)

  • Sex

  • Age

  • Location where they were last seen

Physical Description from top to bottom

  • Height

  • Body Build

  • Hair (Color/Style/Hat)

  • Shirt/Jacket (Color/Logo/Style)

  • Pants/Shorts/Skirt (Color/Style)

  • Shoes (Color/Brand/Style)

  • Anything else that would be helpful



Dangerous Animal Escape - Code 13

Any animal large or powerful enough to injure a person.

  1. Our primary concern is the safety of visitors and staff. Please keep this in mind when dealing with any animal emergency. Any animal endangering visitors or staff must be neutralized. Any animal large enough or powerful enough to injure a person should be considered dangerous. The following animals, however, should be considered extremely dangerous:

  • Wolves

  • Rhinos

  • Pumas

  • Snow Leopards

  • Elephants

  • Polar Bears

  • Tapirs

  • Orangutan

  • Lions

  • Tigers

  1. Procedures
    In any animal emergency, contact Front Desk (ext. 313, red phone) immediately and report:

    1. Your name and location.

    2. Nature of emergency.

    3. Number of animal(s) and/or people involved.

    4. Location of animal(s) and/or people.

    5. Any injuries.

Animal Escape

The person in charge will make all necessary decisions.

  1. Primary contact will be made via radio, channel 1, to Front Desk, signifying radio number and specific location. Channel selection will be at discretion of person in charge.

  2. Front Desk staff will implement detailed procedures which include:

    1. Advise PERSON IN CHARGE and request authorization to implement Code 13 procedure.

    2. Begin emergency signal and page over PA system.

  3. Staff in immediate vicinity of animal will:

    1. See that visitors get to safety (building, vehicle, etc.) if animal is dangerous.

    2. Insure their own safety.

    3. Attempt to maintain visual contact of animal.

  4. Other staff members will:

    1. Insure safety of visitors if animal is dangerous.

  5. Response Team. The Dangerous Animal Escape Response Team consists of the Director, Veterinarian, Veterinary Technician, General Curator and Animal Curators/Supervisors. These individuals are trained annually by the Louisville Police Department SWAT Team in the safe and effective use of firearms. Members of the team will undergo review training by SWAT instructors annually. Response team will utilize appropriate protocol in dealing with the situation.


Person in Exhibit With a Dangerous Animal:

If a Volunteer observes a visitor inside an animal enclosure, they should contact a staff person immediately!

Staff in immediate vincinity will:

  1. Open shift doors to allow animals to enter holding dens.

  2. Advise person of appropriate posture and safest location in exhibit.

  3. Distract animal away from individual (make noise, throw things, etc.).

  4. Try to get person out - without endangering self or anyone else in the process - rely on in-house communications (i.e., radios).

In any emergency:


  2. Receptionist will ask radio units who can man back and front gates. Assigned personnel will:

    1. Back gate: Insure that gate is closed and wait for arrival of EMS, police, etc., to open gate and accompany them to the scene.

    2. Front gate: Close gate and stand by to allow visitors to exit.

  3. Receptionist will begin making calls, with person in charge assigning someone to assist if necessary:

    1. Police - 911.

    2. EMS - 911.

    3. Veterinarian.

    4. General Curator.

    5. Director,

    6. Maintenance Superintendent.

    7. Business Manager.

    8. Public Relations.


  5. All nonessential radio and phone communications will cease (i.e., special events, etc.)

  6. All inquiries by news media are to be answered by Director’s Office or his designee in the PR Office.

Animal Emergency

Venomous snakebite & human exposure to immobilizing drugs. Detailed emergency procedures have been developed to handle the possibility of a venomous snakebite and human exposure to immobilizing drugs. In the event you encounter one of these emergencies, please follow the instructions of your supervisor or involved Zoo staff members.


Natural Disaster

If you feel weather is becoming severe or hear warning sirens, contact your Supervisor for a weather check.

  1. If there is a Tornado Watch (conditions are right for a tornado) or a Severe Weather Warning:

    1. The receptionist will advise the public: “Attention Zoo visitors, the National Weather Bureau has announced there is a in effect.”

    2. Keepers will put all large and/or dangerous animals inside (giraffes, rhinos, elephants, large carnivores).

  2. If there is a Tornado Warning (a tornado has been sighted):

    1. The receptionist will announce: “Attention Zoo visitors, the National weather Bureau has announced that the Louisville area is under a tornado warning which means a tornado has been sighted. You have the option of taking cover in available safe shelter areas. You may take cover in available public buildings or in the nearest train tunnel.”

    2. Keepers and staff assist in getting public to safety:

      1. Hospital Basement or Train Tunnels.

      2. Aquatics/MetaZoo: Inside MetaZoo and Train Tunnel.

      3. Elephant Area: Monkey Island (inside), Preview Center, Elephant House (inside wall).

      4. Giraffe Area: Inside back of Giraffe House, Main Train Tunnel, Administrative Building.

      5. Front Plaza: Rest Rooms, Main Train Tunnel, Tunnel by Islands, Administrative Building.

      6. Also, in any “safe” inside animal shelter.

    3. If inside: Have people sit on floor facing inside wall with their heads covered by their arms. Avoid being near glass. Remain there until danger is over. If in a tunnel: Have people walk as far into tunnel as possible. If there is any lightning, have people stay off the metal tracks

    4. Keepers will put all large and/or dangerous animals inside.

  3. After a natural disaster, all supervisory personnel will report to Zoo.


Fire extinguishers are located in various areas throughout the Zoo. All staff members and volunteers should be aware of the location of fire extinguishers in their individual work areas. These fire extinguishers are multiple purpose and can be used on all types of fires. If you should notice that one is damaged or undercharged, contact your supervisor. If you discharge a fire extinguisher, it is your responsibility to notify your supervisor, who will make arrangements for it to be recharged.  In the event of a fire:

  1. Calmly ask visitors to leave the area. Direct them to the nearest exit. Check rest rooms.

  2. Notify the Front Desk (extension 313 - red phone) and your supervisor.

  3. Assess the situation and, based on your knowledge of fire extinguisher or other fire fighting equipment, attempt to control or extinguish the fire.

  4. If unable to control or extinguish the fire, leave the area by the most direct route.

  5. After leaving the fire area, locate the PERSON IN CHARGE and/or fire officials and report any information you have on the fire situation.

  6. After being notified of a fire, person at Front Desk will immediately notify the PERSON IN CHARGE who will determine if the Fire Department is to be called (dial 911) and if a loudspeaker announcement is to be made regarding the fire.

  7. In the event the Fire Department is called, the Receptionist will ask radio units who can man the back or front gate. Assigned personnel will:

    1. Back gate: Wait for arrival of Fire Department, open gate and accompany or direct them to the scene of the fire.

    2. Front gate: Stand by for arrival of Fire Department and accompany or direct them to the scene of the fire.

NOTE: In any emergency, stay calm and use your common sense.


Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is prohibited at the Louisville Zoo. The Louisville Zoo abides by the Sexual Harassment policy as prescribed by the Louisville Metro Government. Employees are prohibited from engaging in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment shall include unwelcome sexual advances or conduct, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:

  1. Submission to the harassment is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of employment;

  2. Submission to or rejection of the harassment is used as the basis for employment decisions effecting an individual; or

  3. The harassment has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

* As prescribed in The Louisville Metro Government Personnel Rules and Regulations Employee Performance Section 12.6 effective 8/27/91

Demonstrators/Protestors:  The LZG does not permit demonstrations or protestors to conduct activity on LZG property in anyway that would harass or interfere with visitors. Such demonstrations will be handled by the Manager on Duty as needed. If demonstrators fail to comply with management’s directions, they will be removed from LGZ property by appropriate means.

Solicitors:  The LZG does not allow soliciting on LZG property without specific and written approval by management. Solicitors will be asked to cease activity by the Manager on Duty. If they do not comply with management’s directions, they will be removed from LZG property by appropriate means.

Disorderly persons:  Disorderly person(s) will be approached buy Guest Services or the Manager on Duty and asked to bring their conduct in line with the Zoo expectations. Those who continue with inappropriate behavior (guest or staff) will be removed from LZG property in an appropriate manner.

Fire:  All fire alarms are immediately checked by Staff. In the event of an actual fire, evacuation directions will be given to those in the immediate area. The Fire Department is notified. Appropriate measures for animal safety are instituted by Collections Department Staff.

Bomb Threat:  The Zoo has a bomb threat plan. In most cases, Volunteers need only remain calm and follow Management’s instructions. Evacuation: The Zoo has developed a plan for evacuation. In any potentially dangerous situation, remove yourself from it using the nearest safe exit, report the problem immediately to your supervisor and follow any directions from the Person-In-Charge.

Crisis Information Management Plan:  In the event of any potentially serious incident, the LZG Public Relations Department directs information management to all outside sources and media. Do not relay information to anyone other than LZG PR Department, Executive LZG management, or the person in charge. Always refer an inquiry to the PR Director, or take a name and telephone number for a call back from the PR Department.

If you do not have an assigned part in the situation, be prepared to lend assistance if requested. Otherwise, stay clear of the area to avoid adding to the confusion or exposing yourself to risk or unnecessary further involvement.