Librarians and the Medical Reserve Corps

Recently, we facilitated a meeting in Hampton, VA which was aimed at establishing relationships among public libraries, medical libraries, and community emergency preparedness and response.  Our guest speaker was Teresa Blakeslee, the Peninsula Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator for Virginia.  She spoke about the role of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in community preparedness and response, and helped us to identify possible roles for librarians who are interested in participating in that work.  In addition to the health professionals who are deployed to emergency response sites, they need support people, too, and librarians typically have lots of skills that would benefit them, such as organizational abilities, communication skills, technological proficiency, and public service.  MRC provides free training and maintains a database of volunteers based on abilities, willingness to be deployed locally or outside the area, special skills such as interpretive/translation skills, etc.  To find out more, visit their website at http://www.medicalreservecorps.gov/HomePage

Ideas for becoming involved:

* Participate in initiatives that enhance and strengthen public health such as vaccination and health education programs

* Become familiar with existing local emergency plans, procedures and facilities

* Receive free training and continuing education on topics like personal safety in emergency situations, emergency management, Incident Command System

North Carolina Health Sciences’ MAA

Representatives from NC academic health sciences libraries and hospital libraries met last month to develop an emergency response Mutual Aid Agreement.  Dan Wilson facilitated the meeting which included a table-top exercise, a discussion of different types of agreements, and the actual writing of the agreement.  By the end of the day, most of the MAA had been written.  Participants are currently finalizing the agreement.  Funding for the meeting was provided by an award from the SE/A.

CPR for wet books

As our airconditioning systems are cranking away in the summer heat and humidity, creating condensation build-up on some interior pipes and ducts, as the 2010 hurricane season gets into full swing off the southern/southeastern coasts of the continental U.S., and as many parts of the country experience weekly thunderstorms, here’s some helpful information from Heritage Preservation about how to try to save the lives of books that get wet.

The Summer newsletter from Heritage Preservation highlights their “How to Save Wet Books” page, which has short videos and text about how to treat wet books, as well as some very helpful tips at the bottom of the page about how to prioritize and how to stay safe during the process.  Who’d have thought that sometimes part of saving a wet book is to get it even wetter?

Information Resources for Haitian Relief Efforts

We learned about the extraordinary efforts of the University of Miami’s Louis Calder Memorial Library of the UM School of Medicine from Mary Moore, Chair, who posted excellent information on the DIMRC listserv about how they are communicating with and meeting the information needs of UM health professionals working in Haiti.  Many thanks to Mary for the updates and the encouraging news that some of the resources provided by NN/LM and its emergency preparedness initiative (lists of print materials designated as essential for response to a disaster) were used and were found to be appropos to the situation in Haiti. 

Cindy Love, at NLM’s Disaster Information Management Resource Center (DIMRC), coordinated the provision of information about which print resources would be most important to send.  She recommended the “One Shelf Disaster Library” and the list of core titles chosen by the NN/LM Hospital Librarians Summit participants in the spring of 2009, among other resources from HHS and the Pan American Health Organization and others.   For more information on the work of the University of Miami in response to the Haiti earthquake, see the Louis Calder Memorial Library’s site “Resources for Haiti.”

To subscribe to the Disaster Information Outreach listserv managed by the DIMRC, please see the link in the right menu bar under Core Resources.  Once you’re subscribed, you can view archived messages to see the chain of communication from the listserv about providing help to Haiti.

Emergency Access Initiative Activated

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) in partnership with members of the Professional & Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers have announced the availability of free full-text articles from over 200 biomedical journals and over 30 select reference books for libraries and hospitals affected by the earthquake in Haiti.  The Emergency Access Initiative serves as a temporary collection replacement and/or supplement for libraries affected by disasters that need to continue to serve medical staff and affiliated users.

Emergency Access Initiative:  http://eai.nlm.nih.gov

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Self-sufficiency

“People need to plan on being self-sufficient,” Brodehl said. “We’ll help, but people need to do what they can to mitigate the problem. I could say we have a plan that will fix everything, but I’d be lying. We can prepare and train to manage a disaster, but for the first 48 hours there’s going to be a lot of scrambling.”

This quote is from the online edition of the Daily Inter Lake, a newspaper that serves Northwest Montana. The full article can be found by clicking here.