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Disaster Planning, Response, and Recovery
Ports in a Storm: The Library as Community Partner in Disaster Response
When disaster strikes, where do you go? After Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and New York in late October 2012, people went to their local library. Many community libraries were pressed into service as ad hoc Disaster Response Centers. Even though they may have sustained great damage to their own buildings, librarians rallied and were in the forefront of providing services and information to those in need, as well as respite from the storm. Unless under water or without power, our libraries were open, and were the place residents flocked to the morning after Sandy passed, accessing computers and free wireless to conduct business; to work from "home"; to contact relatives or their insurance companies; find tree removal specialists; fill out FEMA forms; or just to power up their devices and warm up. Libraries truly served their communities as ports in a storm.
National Network Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region, recently completed the following video highlighting the role of public libraries after an emergency. The goal was for public librarians to show to first-responder groups, city councils, local government, etc. to promote the role public libraries play. Many groups are not aware of all public libraries can and already do for the community and first responders and libraries have indicated that a video would be the best method to communicate this message:
- Article: Our Libraries Were Ports in the Storm (Superstorm Sandy Recovery: One Year Later)
- You Tube: Public Libraries & First Responders, Partners in Emergency Response
Online videos and webinars are a great source of easily accessible information that can be viewed at any time and can be invaluable when, due to time and money constraints, traditional seminars, talks, or classes are not an option.
Disaster Planning Tools
Disasters come in all shapes and sizes, from natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes to emergencies like fire, leaking roofs, and mold. An emergency can easily spiral into a disaster if you, and your institution are not prepared to respond.
Here is free template designed by the Northeast Document Conservation Center to help institutions of all sizes write comprehensive disaster plans. dPlan can serve the needs of small institutions without in-house preservation staff, and library and museum systems that need to develop separate but related plans for multiple locations.
The most comprehensive disaster plans cover the four facets of the emergency management cycle—prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery—which correspond to before, during, and after a disaster. If you have been meaning to write a disaster plan but your efforts have stalled, the Connecting to Collections webinar recordings and course materials will help you establish the crucial first steps following a disaster.
Extensive chart listing type of materials, priority for salvage, handling precautions, packing method, and drying method. Includes not only maps and books, but also parchment and vellum, prints and drawings, paintings, computer media, audio, photographs of all types, transparencies, motion pictures and microfilm.
Resources on building a disaster resilient community, children in disasters, centers for disease control, help & resource guides.
- Disaster Preparedness Plan for Small Public Libraries
- Developing a Regional Disaster Plan
- International Association of Emerging Managers
In the wake of a disaster it can be difficult to know where to begin the technology recovery process. With so many other pressing concerns how should you prioritize IT recovery? What steps need to be taken immediately and which can wait?
Click on Disaster Recovery & Hurricane Preservation Technical Assistance for information specific to Katrina and Rita and some excellent assessment tools.
The site offers guidelines that cover many different categories of response specific to hurricanes. From the experts at the Smithsonian Institution Archives: Disaster Recovery of Personal Property.
Community and state resources and information from the US Department of Homeland Security and other state and local governments.
Excellent emergency preparedness and response toolkit.
Sample Disaster Plans.
Resources, Suppliers, Vendors