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Just When You Least Expect It…

Over the past few weeks, our region – specifically Montana and Alaska – have experienced a series of emergency incidents. I was traveling in Eastern Montana the week of March 2-6 when my companions and I heard of the terrible natural gas explosion in downtown Bozeman. In rural states like Montana it seems that everybody knows everybody, so the impact of this type of event is felt even on the opposite side of the state. Within 24 hours there was another blast and fire in Whitehall, MT. As if that wasn’t enough, there was the fatal plane crash that occurred in Butte on Sunday, March 22nd. The very next day, a devastating fire lit up downtown Miles City.

While none of our NN/LM Network members were directly impacted by these events, the communities in which they live and work have been severely affected. I have been in contact with some of our member librarians and the feeling that is consistently expressed is “deep sadness.” Our thoughts are with our colleagues throughout Montana.

Still brewing up in Alaska is the Mt. Redoubt eruption just outside of Anchorage. As of this writing, ash is still spewing from the volcano and flights in and out of Anchorage had come to a standstill for several days. Thus far, Anchorage proper is doing all right – we are watching and ready to help if necessary.

Had any of our Network member libraries been damaged or had services disrupted by these incidents, the NN/LM Emergency Response plan could be activated. If you need support in the case of an emergency – big or small – call 1-800-DEV-ROKS (1-800-338-7657) or call your State Coordinator for Emergency Preparedness and Response to activate the response plan.

No one likes to think about what might happen in terms of disasters or emergencies, but preparedness is key. There are some simple steps medical libraries can take to assure that services can continue in the event of an incident.  A great starting place is Ten Steps to Service Continuity page and the template linked from the Emergency Preparedness Toolkit. If you are not very familiar with the Toolkit, there is now a tutorial you can view to take a tour.

These incidents do happen just when you least expect it – but by taking steps in advance, you can be better prepared to respond and recover.

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