Putting Us to the Test: Hurricane Sandy and Our Service Continuity Plan

Friday, October 26th:

We sent out an email to everyone on our Service Continuity Team asking for any changes to contact information and availability during the period of time Hurricane Sandy was predicted to affect the Central Virginia area.  Changes were made to our service continuity plan based on responses.

Sunday, October 28th:

University officials announce that classes are canceled for Monday and the clinics will be operating on a modified schedule.

Monday, October 29th:

10:30am:  We announce on the Library’s web page and Facebook that the Health Sciences Library will close at 7pm and that our after-hours area will open at that time.  We also activate our service continuity plan.  Our service continuity plan involves steps for keeping our core services and resources available from home.  These core services and resources include online resources, the proxy server, interlibrary loan (borrow), chat, reference email, and access to core textbooks.

Three staff are designated to handle access issues with online materials.  This provides redundancy if someone loses power.  Two staff are assigned to proxy issues and about four staff share chat/reference email.  Our ILL supervisor is the only one who can maintain ILL remotely, and we need power here at the library and her home for that to happen.

1:37pm: Lots of clouds but very little wind.  Rain and wind are suppose to kick in later this afternoon.

1:53pm: Hard rain begins to fall.  Wind is picking up.

Outside the Health Sciences Library at 1:53pm.

4:05pm: The SE/A RML in Baltimore will be closed tomorrow, and their “buddy” plan with PNR in Seattle has been activated.  The “buddy” plan involves forwarding all phone calls SE/A to Seattle.  This might come into play if SE/A libraries need to have their DOCLINE requests re-routed due to closures.

4:47pm: Two hours until Hurricane Sandy makes landfall on the New Jersey coast.  Currently, from what I can see as I look outside the library, we have rain with a good breeze.  Temperature has dropped to 44 degrees.  The last hour or so I’ve been going over power outage scenarios.

Tuesday, October 30th:

7:15am: Made it home safely at 8pm last night to power but no internet.  Still no internet this morning, so I came into work at 6:30 to check email and weather conditions.  Weather conditions this morning are a lot like they were last night: breezy with a light rain.

I updated our home page (we’re opening today at our regular time) and the library’s voicemail.  Time now to sort out the staffing situation.

1:07pm: Staffing has been worked out and we will be able to operate under our normal hours.  Our service continuity plan will remain in effect throughout the business day.

1:25pm: Our Head of Collection Development, working from home, notified library staff that he fixed an access problem for one of our online journals.

3:35pm: We will deactivate our service continuity plan today at 5pm.  Our Service Continuity Team will gather for an After Action Review on November 8th when we will talk about what worked as well as areas we need to improve.

Thursday, November 8th:

Our after-action review focused on communication issues.  Specifically, the best way to contact staff that the library is closed and that the Service Continuity Plan has been activated.  We had been relying on staff to contact the University’s incident notification telephone number, but, conceivably, there could be situations where staff are not aware that something has happened and therefore would not think to call that number.  While we consider alternatives, all departments may work out notification systems tailored to their staff.

In addition, we determined that we need to list additional staff on the Service Continuity Team, update our procedures for providing updates on our webpage, and add additional vendor contact information.

The Service Continuity Plan will be updated and distributed to team members by the end of next week.

 

New Feature: Virtual 10-Step Approach to Service Continuity Planning

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.

Click on this URL and then look below the photographs: http://nnlm.gov/ep/10-stepsservice-continuity/.

For a taste of the program, here is the Introduction:


 

 

 

Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness

Thanks to FEMA for the heads-up about this conference, being held tomorrow, June 15–check out the conference site here:  http://www.meta-leadershipsummit.org/.   Here’s the description from FEMA’s news update: 

Empowering Business, Government and Nonprofit Leaders to Act Together in Times of Crisis
Leadership during large-scale disasters like terrorist attacks, natural disasters and pandemic flu is the focus of the Long Island Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness on June 15, where more than 200 leaders will gather to better prepare and respond to public health and safety emergencies.  Offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC Foundation, the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative – Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness fosters greater cross-sector collaboration among business, government and nonprofit leaders during emergencies.  The Long Island Meta-Leadership Summit is the 36th and final in the series of highly-evaluated Summits that have been held to engage leaders across the country. More than 4,700 leaders have attended a Summit to date, and over 2,500 have joined the Meta-Leadership Online Community. Visit the online community to watch a sampling of video soundbites from Summit participants in their own words: Tampa Bay; Nebraska; San Diego County; Greater Los Angeles and Greater Houston.

Service Strategy for Hardin Library During Renovation

The Hardin Library at the University of Iowa is closed for the summer due to renovation work. While their building is closed, their services are being offered at other locations. Click on the URL below to view their strategy. This type of planning translates well to other types of major service disruptions, such as a flooding or a tornado. Have you thought about a relocation plan for your library?

http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/summer2011.html

Health Info Partnership in Missouri

Siobhan Champ-Blackwell of NN/LM’s MidContinental Region office, of which Missouri is a part, posts this to the Disaster Outreach listserv:

“The medical library at St John’s hospital is not functioning at this time. The Medical Library at St. John’s Health System in Springfield, MO has stepped up and is working to assist anyone in the area with information needs. They are both part of the Sisters of Mercy Health System, so there is a partnership structure in place for that kind of program.”

Thank you, Siobhan.

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

Continue reading

Great Opportunity

The severe winter storm that affected (and still affecting) the Midwest, South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, gave libraries in these regions a great opportunity to activate their service continuity plans. If you don’t have a plan, this is a good time to prepare for the next major service disruption. (Resources to help you can be found on our Writing Your Disaster Plan page.) If you did have a plan, how did it go? Would you change anything? If so, this is a good time to make those changes.

Here is a NOAA satellite view of the winter storm. Note the similarities of a hurricane. (Click on image to enlarge.)