Communicating with your staff is essential before a severe weather event . Here is a sample situation report that you can adapt for your workplace:
Please remember to dial _______ tomorrow morning before heading out to work. If the library is closed, all non-essential staff should not report to work. Essential staff will communicate with ________, who will be communicating with ____________.
Due to the many uncertainties of this storm, it’s hard to tell at this time what conditions will be like during the morning commute. Most of the forecasts I’ve seen show snow throughout the day, so even if we can open the library we may be in an early closing scenario. However, we’ll have to let it play out and make adjustments along the way.
The Service Continuity Team (SCT) and essential services staff are now on stand-by. Essential services staff from the standpoint of staffing the library and the SCT from the standpoint of keeping our core services available from their homes. Since there is the potential for power outages, _____ will coordinate the SCT. If you are on the SCT and you lose power during business hours, please contact _____. ______ will then notify a backup, if one is available.
________ will be handling messages on the library’s website, and will be in communication with ___________ who will be handling social media.
A major winter storm is expected to move into Virginia later this afternoon and potentially drop 10 – 15 inches of snow and sleet. If we get sleet on top of snow, then there is a good chance we will have power outages. The library’s Service Continuity Team is ready to go in the event that the library is closed tomorrow. We will do our best to maintain our online content, our network, interlibrary loan (borrows), and library email. If our library is closed, our large after hours space will be available to anyone with a UVA Health System ID. Patrons who reserved a group study room or classroom tomorrow has been contacted.
All library staff know to call the university’s SNOW line to determine operating status. (They can also find operating status on the university’s website.) We will use our library’s voicemail and website to communicate the library’s operating status. I have a message ready to go, if needed, mentioning that the after hours space is open and that our Service Continuity Team members are home maintaining core library services and resources. The message also provides contact information for our library’s email address, which we will be monitoring during business hours.
Many libraries are closed today from Oklahoma to New England. Academic health sciences libraries closed today include, University of North Texas/Fort Worth, University of Oklahoma, University of Kansas/Kansas City, Saint Louis University, University of Missouri (Columbia and Kansas City), and the Library of Health Sciences/Chicago. The Greater Midwest Region of the NN/LM is closed today and all calls are being forwarded to their buddy RML in Los Angeles.
A major winter storm will be impacting libraries over the next two days from Texas to Maine. Currently, some academic health sciences libraries have closed in northern Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Other closings are anticipated as the storm moves northeastward. You can keep track of closing announcements by following NEPRTimes on the left side of the Toolkit.
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.)