Disaster Information Outreach Symposium Re-cap

Over two hundred people gathered last week in Bethesda, MD on the campus of the National Library of Medicine and at the Marriott Bethesda North hotel for two days of immersion in information service needs and provision in times of emergency or disaster.  “Disaster Information Outreach:  A Symposium for Information Professionals Meeting Disaster Health Information Needs,” was held on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 29-30, and provided by the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), Specialized Information Services, National Library of Medicine.
 
Stacey Arneson, Cindy Love and others at  DIMRC did an outstanding job of gathering well-qualified speakers from an array of backgrounds and experiences, all of whom presented valuable insights and lessons learned, and answered questions from the large crowd at each session.  Equally helpful were the great networking opportunities provided during breaks and at the evening session for catching up with colleagues, meeting new acquaintances in the world of emergency planning, and visiting with representatives from emergency management organizations from the area.  One of the groups was Girl Scout Troup 5127 of Potomac, MD, who shared with us their accomplishment of having been awarded the “Emergency Preparedness Patch”–and their motto for this activity:  “Don’t be scared; be prepared.”  Many thanks to everyone at DIMRC and NLM who contributed to the planning and execution of the symposium for these wonderful two days.  If you weren’t able to attend or to listen to the webcast “live,” check the symposium site at http://disaster.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc/symposium2011.html in the next few days to see the archived version.

PNR’s EP&R Outreach to Hospital Librarians

Many thanks to Gail Kouame and all the Emergency Preparedness & Response (EP&R) State Coordinators in the Pacific Northwest Region (PNR) of NN/LM for sending us their white paper describing PNR’s regional efforts to assist hospital librarians in emergency preparedness.  Click here to view:  Region 6 Emergency Preparedness Report Feb 2011-1

The paper includes an accounting of how their initiative developed and was implemented, along with photos of the Coordinator group and the emergency kits and promotional items they distributed.  There are also documents in the appendix of the paper that will no doubt be helpful in similar efforts.   Thanks to all of you who prepared the report, and congratulations on work well done!

Seismology of the Christchurch Quakes

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has provided us with some interesting observations about why the February 2011 earthquake in the Christchurch, New Zealand area did so much more damage that the one that occurred in September 2010.  Check out their satellite image showing the varying severity levels of the quake as well as their explanation about how time of day and location are often even more powerful factors in resulting damage than the severity on the Richter scale–visit http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=49586&src=eorss-nh.  Note that in addition to the shaking and movement of the earth, in these quakes, there is also “liquefaction” of the soil when groundwater and earth are forced together, which creates yet another kind of impact on the surrounding areas.

DIMRC Symposium Webcasts

We hope to see many of our readers at the Disaster Information Outreach Symposium in Bethesda on March 29 and 30, but if you can’t get there in person, there’s good news!  Both days will be videocast via the web, see details here:

“Please see http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=9836  for day 1 and http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=9837 for day 2. Prior to the event, you may wish to visit the Web site and click “Player Software” near the top of the page to download the software necessary to view the program. A recording will be archived for later viewing following the symposium.”  (Thanks to Regina King whose email message provided this quote!)

To see what’s on the agenda and speaker bios, check the conference web site at http://disaster.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc/symposium2011.html.

Active Shooter: Plan, Prevent, Survive

Dan refers us to a truly excellent article from “Library Leadership & Management,” volume 25, no. 1, 2011, entitled “Active Shooter in the Library:  How to Plan for, Prevent, and Survive the Worst,” by Amy Kautzman, Associate University Librarian at UC Davis’ General Library.  The article is available through Creative Commons here http://journals.tdl.org/llm/article/view/1864/1625.  It’s difficult to point out highlights because every sentence is important, but there were several eye-openers for me, such as:  active shooter incidents are not random, out-of-the-blue events.  In previous incidents, there have always been warning signs displayed by the person who became the shooter, but they were not reported until after the event, or if they had been reported before, no action was taken.  So awareness, reporting and follow-up are key preventive stragegies.  And, one of the keys to surviving an active shooter incident is to respond immediately rather than waiting to be told what to do; in other words, accept personal responsibility for your safety by learning response strategies and developing a “mindset” of preparedness.  Be sure to continue past the references at the end of the article to find the “Active Shooter / Safety and Security Selected Materials” bibliography of additional resources compiled by Amy Kautzman and Jennifer Little, who is Head of User Services at Morehead State University.

In the article, Ms. Kautzman acknowledges how scary it can be to entertain thoughts or develop scenarios in order to become prepared, but we can use this kind of scary to motivate us to make plans that might save our lives someday.

Earthquake Tour

We usually think of California when we think earthquakes in the U.S., but one of the most significant earthquakes to strike in North America actually happened in the New Madrid Seismic Zone two hundred years ago. Check out this site http://www.newmadrid2011.org/ to see information about the “Earthquake Tour,” commemorating the bicentennial of the New Madrid quake in 1811.  The tour begins tomorrow (Feb. 4, 2011) and continues on through this year with sessions in Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and the other states adjacent to the New Madrid fault.  Be sure to explore the “Quick Links” section, especially the wonderful “Great Central U.S. Shakeout” site at http://shakeout.org/centralus/.   The Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) site at http://www.cusec.org/ is also a rich resource for increasing awareness and knowledge about earthquakes and for advice about how to be prepared and stay safe in an earthquake.

Closing Tweets

A quick review of the “NEPR Times” Twitter feed (see left side bar, “Library Closings & Related Tweets”), provides an interesting study of the kinds of events that can cause library closings.  Over the past ten days (January 18-January 27), here’s the distribution:

  • Inclement weather (8)
  • Flooding (5)
  • Air quality
  • Staff illness
  • Network upgrade
  • Power outage
  • Threat (bomb?)
  • Interior flood from a burst overhead pipe

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