Winter Comes to Charlottesville

Snow started falling here in Charlottesville, Virginia, Friday night around 6pm and it has been steadily coming down for the last 15 hours.  The Library is open and we will keep it open throughout the weekend, as the last exam is Monday morning. Below are a four pictures that I took just outside the Library.  (Click on the images to enlarge.)  My guess is that there is at least 15″ of snow on the ground.  I know 15″ of snow is no-big-deal for you folks above the 40th parallel, but it’s big news down here.  Most businesses are closed and shelters are opening up for stranded motorist.  So far, no major power outages.

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And the next morning …

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You may be asking the question, “Okay, so what does all this have to do with disaster planning?”  The answer is that I learned a number of things that will help us in an actual disaster situation.

1)  I discovered that we can forward our main phone to another library number that is an iPhone.   Therefore, we can answer a call to our main line (and other forwarded lines) from a remote site using the iPhone.

2) By Saturday evening, food was hard to come by. as vendors were unable to make deliveries.  In addition, I noticed that some vending machines weren’t working and others that were asked for correct change only.  Therefore, and this is a lesson that we should all take very seriously, have extra food on hand both at work and at home, and keep plenty of extra change.

3) Students can spread information to their peers a lot quicker than we can get information out.  On Saturday, a rumor was circulating that the Library was going to close early.  I assured a student who asked about the rumor that we would be open until midnight.  He quickly notified the students and the rumor was cut off.

4) Finally, everyone responds to situations differently.  Marty Thompson, director of the Health Sciences Library at the University of Oklahoma, always mentions this as being core knowledge to anyone organizing a response to an emergency.  Know who you can count on and ask them to participate.  Emergency response should be a team effort.

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