Enter Winter

If you’re trapped in your car during a blizzard, what can you do to alert first responders that you need help?  The Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA) reminds us that there are many things we can do to be prepared for severe winter weather, from flooding to blizzards.  See their “Winter Storms and Extreme Cold” page at  http://www.fema.gov/hazard/winter/index.shtm to become familiar with terminology and some specific ways to stay safe in the cold.  The answer to the above question:  at night, turn on the inside light of your car so rescuers can see you.

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.