CDC Treasure Trove

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an excellent web site with a wealth of health and safety-related information on a broad range of topics and for many audience types. They have redesigned and reorganized, including more images, and the navigation features lend themselves well to helping users find information quickly. We can benefit particularly from their Emergency Preparedness and Response pages, and today are focusing on their Natural Disasters and Severe Weather subsite. For each event, they have gathered excellent information, some of which they have written, and some that links to other, related sites. Check out the “Earthquake” page, which warns that between 2008 and 2035, seismologists predict a 97 percent chance of a major quake in the New Madrid seismic zone (central US: Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri).

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Seasons and Hazards

As we know, there is the “all hazards” paradigm for disaster training, and this is to remind us that we NN/LM emergency planners take an “all seasons” approach to preparedness!  Winter weather has brought some of the most memorable disasters to libraries (see the Jan. 29, 2008 post on water damage at Renne Library, Montana State University) because of frozen and bursting pipes.  It poses danger to library staff who face slick roads and sidewalks, and power outages for libraries, staff and patrons (see article on last week’s ice storm in NY, NH, MA and ME).  In addition, the CDC’s “Winter Weather” tip this week details how the cold can endanger one’s heart. 

Some activities to consider this week in preparation for the holiday season and winter weather:

  1. make sure your communication information is up to date–cell and home phone numbers for key staff and administrators
  2. think about how you can provide information services from home if you can’t get to work; proxy account?  software installed?  alternate voice mail ready for your phone?
  3. need any plastic sheeting for protecting your print resources or equipment in case of a water leak?

Also, if your business slows a bit during the holiday, take some time to read some of the “Stories Told” on the Library Disaster Stories page here on the toolkit (click on the “view larger map” link to see the list of stories).  I found myself awed by the strength and resourcefulness of our colleagues in some very trying circumstances, and found that their observations on their experiences can help all of us prepare for events we hope will never occur.