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Planning not to be a victim

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Ready.gov has developed some great tools to assist us with our own personal preparedness measures.  Completing their suggested plans will go a long way toward preventing us, our families, and even our pets from becoming victims who need rescuing rather than people who are prepared to deal with an emergency and provide help to others, whether it’s our neighbors or our work place and patrons who need help.

Especially check out the “My Family Emergency Plan.”  Clicking on the “Go” link there pulls up a sequential form you can fill out and which will result in a PDF document you can download and/or print for your family.  (My only problem with it is that there is enough room for only two pets, and I will have to add our third dog and our four horses as my children, which is perfectly fitting given the lives they lead.)  At the end of the emergency plan is the opportunity to print out emergency cards for family members to carry.  Very cool tools!

SE/A EP&R Committee Meets in Tampa

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

The Emergency Preparedness & Response Committee for the Southeastern/Atlantic Region (SE/A) of NN/LM met at the Embassy Suites near the University of South Florida, in Tampa, FL on July 14, amongst live oak trees with Spanish moss and crepe myrtle trees in full bloom–a Southern summer in full swing!  To see the State Coordinators, check out the picture in the Photo Gallery (not pictured–the West Virginia Coordinator).  In addition to the Region’s State Coordinators for emergency preparedness, the SE/A RML was represented by Executive Director Janice Kelly and Network Coordinator and Emergency Preparedness & Response Coordinator Beth Wescott.  During the morning session, the group heard an overview and updates on the past year’s progress of the NN/LM National Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan from Dan Wilson, Coordinator of the National plan.  Following Dan’s presentation, all state coordinators reported on the status of preparedness in their areas, which had all been fortunate during the past year, having escaped major damage or service disruption from hurricanes or tornadoes, two of the highest risks for the region.  Following the state reports from Maryland, D.C., West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Puerto Rico, all the state coordinators participated in the “train the trainer” session for the “10-Step Approach to Service Continuity Planning” for health sciences libraries and information centers, providing some excellent feedback on the new curriculum materials.  SE/A representatives scored high, almost across the board, in the risk assessment exercise, due to the number of weather-related risks as well as port cities, and chemical and nuclear facilities. 

During and after lunch, Dan facilitated a discussion about issues to be addressed in the region such as methods of communication, “buddy library” relationships, and the roles of the RML and the state coordinators.   The consensus was that the group is well-positioned for continued progress with regard to promoting emergency preparedness in the states and across the region, and plans are underway for hosting and teaching classes and representing the initative within local and regional groups.

Advancing the Standard for Service Continuity

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Recently, Dan has made two presentations, as an invited speaker, that featured the importance of service continuity planning for libraries, and in both cases he used the scenario of social distancing in response to the H1N1 influenza virus (see info from the CDC) as a basis.  Some experts are warning that H1N1 may re-surge in the northern hemisphere early this fall, well before the tradional flu season, so it’s important that we remain aware of the potential risks from a more widespread epidemic than we have seen so far, and that we keep the banner of service continuity moving forward.

On July 9, Dan addressed the monthly conference call hosted by NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), giving an overview of this year’s activities of the NN/LM’s emergency preparedness initiative, and featuring the Hospital Librarians Summit which was held in Chicago in April (click here to see the posting about this).  Other highlights of this year have been conducting training meetings with NN/LM staff and state coordinators in the PNR, SCR, GMR, PSR and SE/A regions, enhancing the Toolkit, and developing promotional materials.  Several participants on the call confirmed that the training has been very effective so far, and “buy-in” from NN/LM members has been excellent.

On July 17, Dan addressed the annual Interlibrary Loan Forum of the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) at Sweet Briar College in Lynchburg, VA.  Working from the NN/LM’s emergency preparedness plan, which emphasizes service continuity, especially for Interlibrary Loan services, Dan presented the procedures that have been established through a partnership between the Health Sciences Libraries at the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for providing back-up ILL services for each other in an emergency, and which are transparent to library users.  While the audience represented all types of academic libraries in Virginia, it included several who are NN/LM members.  Click ILL Backup Plan VIVA to see Dan’s slides from the VIVA Forum.

If you would like more information about the ILL backup plan between the two libraries or about training for service continuity, please contact one of us (see the “About Us” tab at the top of the page).

Emergency Preparedness in the Pacific Southwest Region

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

We met last week (June 22) with NN/LM staff from the Pacific Southwest Region (PSR) in the Louise Darling Biomedical Library at UCLA, along with representatives from the states in their region (see the photo of state representatives in the gallery here on the site).  Attending for the states were:  Amy Knehans from Hawaii, Cinda McClain from Arizona, Triza Crittle from Nevada, and Chapter liaisons Peggy Tahir and Irene Lovas from California.   After an overview of progress of the national plan and reports from the state representatives and NN/LM staff, we presented the recently developed curriculum for use by NN/LM staff in training members in the “10-Step Approach to Service Continuity,” which now includes a new risk assessment exercise and score sheet handout (thanks to the South Central Region for the encouragement to develop this idea!).

Judy Consales, Director, and Julie Kwan, Network Coordinator of the PSR taught a class called “Are You Ready?” in Hawaii, presenting both face-to-face and using AccessGrid, which was quite successful.  In addition to outreach efforts, Heidi Sandstrom, Associate Director, noted that their library has also continued to develop emergency preparedness plans, having recently enhanced signage and room numbers/designations to help with evacuations and troubleshooting in their building.  Jake Nadal, of the UCLA Library’s Preservation Department, spoke to the group about UCLA’s efforts to provide continuous access to digital resources as well as how to plan for preservation of print materials and other library resources.  The day closed with a discussion of goals for the region during the coming year, as well as some questions and ideas to be addressed, as outlined by Heidi.

Once again, we were energized by the excellent collaborative spirit of the NN/LM staff and the state representatives from the PSR, and benefitted from hearing about their successes as well as ideas for improvement of the plan and the resources offered (e.g. the Toolkit and the training materials).  The PSR training meeting was our last NN/LM staff meeting for this contract year, and we can say without reservation that NN/LM Directors, Associate Directors, all NN/LM staff, and the state representatives have been unfailingly enthusiastic, hospitable, creative, and committed to including emergency preparedness in their outreach to NN/LM members.

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