Here are the elements that would be in place at a library that exhibits the highest state of readiness. The list is based on our experience along with information we provide in our training program. It’s likely that very few libraries, if any, have achieved this state, but it provides a bar for all of us to aim for. As we move into the new year, we will be searching for and highlighting any library that has achieved this esteemed status.Comprehensive Disaster Plan updated at least once a year
Comprehensive Disaster Plan updated at least once a year
Response station that includes posted response procedures and ready access to tools (e.g., flashlights, first aid kit, bullhorn, plastic, battery operated radio, etc.) for handling an emergency
One-page Service Continuity Pocket Response Plan (PReP) updated at least quarterly
Communication plan that incorporates redundancy of means of communication (such as what to do if cell phones don’t work) and procedures for updating website, Facebook page, and/or Twitter
Service continuity team
At least one scheduled evacuation drill per year
At least one table-top exercise per year
Library and/or librarians integrated into parent institution’s disaster plan
Core print textbooks/materials identified and labeled or shelved together
Servers with core online resources on unlimited emergency power
Mutual Aid Agreements with other libraries or networks for delivery of core services
Prioritized recovery list of all valuable and hard to replace materials
Partnership (contract not required) with commercial salvage and recovery company (e.g., Belfor, BMS, Munters)
72-hour emergency kits at the homes of all members of service continuity team
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We now have a virtual 10-Step program! The program, under 16 minutes, is broken down into an introduction and 10 individual steps, so it can be worked on as time permits. In between some of the steps are assignments that, when completed, will greatly improve the readiness capabilities of your library. Please feel free to offer your comments or suggestions.
This year we are emphasizing the importance of having a 72-hour kit & plan for all library staff who are part of a service continuity team, because without a plan, staff are more likely to be focused on their needs, or their family’s needs, and not be able to take part in assuring that the library’s core resources and services remain available to your community following a disaster. Earlier this week, I sent a message to our local American Red Cross (ARC) chapter about 72-hour preparedness training opportunities. Here are some of the ARC resources referred to me by Mike Peoples, Preparedness Officer:
Community Disaster Education (CDE) courses through any local chapter. Our CDE training isn’t really based on a pre-disaster count-down as much as the training being centered around working towards being prepared “whenever” a disaster occurs…the training includes discussion of the importance of making a family (or business) communication plan (so that family members have “designated rally points” when something goes wrong – either around the home, community, or wider world. The training consists of a “series” of topics ranging from generic preparedness to event specific topics such as tornados, spring/winter storms, floods, hurricanes, home fires, wild fires, earthquakes, etc.
The “home page” for preparedness information can be found by clicking here.
If there are groups of folks (based on age, location, employment, etc.), someone from that group can contact their local chapter for additional information as well as to set up an actual CDE seminar based on the group’s interest (we’ve done them for businesses, seniors, boy scouts, schools, etc.!)
Here’s a video called “Let’s Make a Kit,” featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, an ARC volunteer:
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When thinking about risk assessment, don’t forget about FEMA’s website that lists federal disaster declarations. Searchable by state, FEMA region, and disaster type, use this information to focus your training efforts and design table-top exercises.
On a sheet of paper, give yourself a tick mark for each time you answer Yes to one the 12 elements of a library at a state of disaster readiness listed below. Add up your score. Most libraries will score between 0 and 5. It is our goal to provide tools and training to create a disaster ready culture in libraries so that every library in the United States scores 10 or above.
Do you want a better score? Contact me, Dan Wilson, Coordinator for the NN/LM Disaster Ready Initiative, at 434-924-0193 or email@example.com.
1. We are committed to purchasing core print materials that may be needed by the community if power is down for an extended time or the Internet is compromised.
2. Our core online resources are housed on servers with emergency backup power.
3. We have a response station that includes items such as flashlights, first aid kit, bullhorn, plastic, and a battery operated radio.
4. We practice situation awareness reporting (What, When, and Where) before, during, and after any kind of service disruption.
5. We practice 72-hour home preparedness.
6. We regularly drill our staff on how to respond to unplanned incidents, such as tornadoes, shooter, and HAZMAT incidents, and we perform at least one evacuation drill per year.
7. We conduct at least two tabletop exercises per year. (One for planned and one for unplanned events.)
8. We conduct after-action reviews within 14 days of a service disruption.
9. We have a one-page service continuity plan that is updated at least twice per year.
10. We have a Mutual Aid Agreement with other libraries to assist us in the delivery of core services if ours are compromised.
11. We have a partnership (contract not required) with a commercial salvage and recovery company (e.g., Belfor, BMS, Munters) or a local preservationist for recovery of valuable and hard to replace materials.
12. We have worked with local law enforcement to determine best practices for sheltering-in-place and for responding to unplanned emergency situations.