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Report of the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Summit in Charlottesville, VA

Normalcy and Intelligence: A forum to discuss ways libraries and information professionals can strengthen a community’s emergency planning strategy

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Central Library of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library System
Charlottesville, Virginia

Ryan McCay, Emergency Planner, Thomas Jefferson Health District
Sammy Chao, Coordinator, Medical Reserve Corps, Thomas Jefferson District
Nick Drauschack, Disaster Services Manager Coordinator, Virginia Mountain Region, American Red Cross
Kirby Felts, Emergency Manager Coordinator, Charlottesville/Albemarle County/University of Virginia
Stacey Arnesen, Branch Chief, Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), National Library of Medicine
Charles Werner, Charlottesville Fire Chief

Dan Wilson, Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative

Panelists (left to right): Charles Werner, Stacey Arnesen, Kirby Felts, Nick Drauschack, Sammy Chao, Ryan McCay, John Halliday, Director, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, at the podium

Panelists (left to right): Charles Werner, Stacey Arnesen, Kirby Felts, Nick Drauschack, Sammy Chao, Ryan McCay, John Halliday, Director, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, at the podium

Discussion of a Scenario-based Event

Wilson: Suppose an EF2 tornado (wind speeds of 111 to 135 mph) strikes the southeast side of Charlottesville.  What information sources would you rely on during the first three hours after the destructive tornado?

Werner:  I’ll be the first one responding.  The first reports will come into our Emergency Operations Center (EOC).  We are fortunate here in Charlottesville that all dispatches, whether county, city, or university, come out of one place, the EOC, unlike many other jurisdictions that are stove piped.    During the Tornado Watch we will be watching for reports from Kirby (Emergency Manager Coordinator) and checking our apps, such as iNWS (Interactive National Weather Service).  We are also watching radar on our smartphones and, if needed, adding extra staff.  If a lot of calls suddenly come in to the EOC, our dispatch goes into a red flag operation, and I’ll start talking to Kirby.  Where are the calls coming from? What kind of property damage?  What is the magnitude of the storm?  Kirby then takes the information to the leaders of the city, county, and university to determine if we need to open the EOC.  Then we move into response, which may include calling for mutual aid.

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Diary of a Winter Storm at the UVA Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

Wednesday, February 12, 2014: 15:20

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.

Now we wait and see what happens.

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OPAL for LOGIN Meeting Report

Project OPAL (One Page All Libraries) was the topic of discussion at last Friday’s LOGINCAM00329 (2) meeting at the public library in West Deptford, New Jersey.  The keynote presenter was Dan Wilson, Coordinator for the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative.  The meeting started with a greeting from Anne Wodnick, President of LOGIN, follow by comments from Taft Barnet, of the American Red Cross, and Michele Stricker from the New Jersey State Library.

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Unity for the Community: a report of the panel discussion during the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness and Response Summit at the Washington County Free Public Library

Each one of us, every day, is in one element of the emergency management cycle.  We are either in mitigation, preparedness, response, or recovery.  And mixed in with all of this are drills and table-top exercises. – Verna Brown

The summit took place in Hagerstown, Maryland, on January 23, 2014. The panel discussion reported here followed a summary of the mission of the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative by Dan Wilson. The two panelists were Verna Brown, Emergency Management Coordinator for Washington County, Maryland, and Shawn Stoner, Washington County Public Health Emergency Planner.  The questions are from Dan Wilson and summit attendees.  Additional training took place in the afternoon, including the 10-Step Approach to Service Continuity Planning, a table-top exercise, and an After Action Review.

Shawn Stoner, Verna Brown, and Julie Zamostny, Continuing Education Coordinator, Washington County Public Libraries

Shawn Stoner, Verna Brown, and Julie Zamostny, Continuing Education Coordinator, Washington County Public Libraries

Based on what you heard this morning, what roles do you see libraries possibly playing in your future planning?

Libraries could play a very important part in our planning.  We need to sit down soon and work on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). You could help us develop Family Assistance Centers (FAC) that are designed to assist with family unification.  There’s also the need for Disaster Relief Centers (DRC).  Would this be a good place to have a DRC?  Absolutely.  If this library would like to be added to the list, that would be great.  And I would encourage library participation at any one of our committees.  Outreach programs and partnerships are very important to us in emergency management.

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