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Emergency Preparedness and Response: Rolling Out the NN/LM Plan in the Pacific Southwest Region

It will be two years next month that Arizona was struck by storms and flooding severe enough for the President to declare a major disaster. As June comes to a close, firefighters continue to battle hundreds of wildfires throughout California, the result of lightning storms and dry conditions throughout the state. A little over a year ago, Hawaii experience severe storms, high surf, flooding, and mudslides in Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui counties. This past February, northeastern Nevada experienced a magnitude 6.0 earthquake that was felt across much of the West, from northern Idaho and Utah to Southern California. And the Pacific Basin is regularly affected by almost every hazard you can imagine!

So what can WE do?

On June 20, 2008, regional Network office staff and Medical Library Association chapter representatives Irene Lovas and Peggy Tahir met with Dan Wilson and Susan Yowell to facilitate the regional adoption of the National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, an important step in helping libraries respond to emergency situations like those described above. Dan is the Coordinator and Susan is the Project Assistant for this National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) initiative.

Emergency Preparedness and Planning

Background

Emergency preparedness and response was chosen in Fall 2006 as the interregional collaboration project for the NN/LM 2006-2011 contract. Planning activities proceeded throughout 2007; a final version of the National Plan was released in early 2008.

The purpose of the plan is to help mitigate the impact of disasters on healthcare providers and their patients by helping Network members maintain their information services in the event of a disaster. The effectiveness of the plan depends on the participation of EVERYONE! This includes those at: Network member libraries, Regional Medical Library offices, the NN/LM National Network Office, the National Library of Medicine (NLM), library associations, publisher and vendor organizations, and library networks. The National Coordinator, Dan Wilson, is responsible for overseeing the successful adoption of the plan in the regions, fostering partnerships in support of the plan, and maintaining the Emergency Preparedness and Response Toolkit.

Baseline Assessment Survey

Some of you were part of the sample of regional DOCLINE health science or resource libraries that responded to a national survey (administered by the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center this spring) assessing the level of preparedness, barriers, and what kinds of NN/LM support might be helpful to increase your library’s preparedness and ability to respond to emergencies. Survey findings show that most of your libraries don’t have a plan, designated roles, or sufficient training related to emergency preparedness and response. The biggest barriers you face are limited time and knowledge; the kind of support you would most welcome from the NN/LM is assistance and training.

The Toolkit: An Emergency Preparedness Resource for Libraries

The NN/LM Emergency Preparedness and Response Toolkit is the cornerstone resource of this initiative. It includes an Emergency Assistance Number, the complete Plan document along with preparedness and response flowcharts, an 8-step guide to service continuity planning, disaster plan templates, many helpful sample documents, and pre-formulated PubMed searches. In addition, you can check on current health or weather alerts and security threats. If you need training now or assistance at the time of an emergency, you’ll find helpful links on the Toolkit, which can be easily accessed via Quick Links on the NN/LM PSR website .

Emergency Toolkit Webpage

Three Things YOU Can Do RIGHT NOW!

  1. Memorize 1-800-DEV-ROKS
    This is the NN/LM Emergency Assistance Number, an easy-to-remember form of our existing 800 number. Calling this number will activate our response based on the NN/LM Plan.
  2. Develop and maintain a disaster plan
    Even a little preparation, using simplified approaches, can substantially increase your ability to respond and recover from a disaster. For example, have you identified the unique resources you have and where they are located so you know what you must save when recovery time is limited? The Toolkit can help you identify the four key elements of a disaster plan.
  3. Identify a back-up library
    Partner with this library to come to a mutual understanding of what will help if disaster strikes!

Next Steps for Our Region

We will meet with MLA Chapter representatives again in July to review goals/action items resulting from the June 20 meeting, and to identify priorities for this year. We will be conducting an Adobe Connect® session in the coming months on continuity planning and identifying other regional partners who can assist us with this initiative. In the meantime, if you have a disaster or continuity of service plan you can make available to us as an example, please send it to us at psr-nnlm@library.ucla.edu. If you would like to help us in implementing the plan in the region, let us know. Contact Heidi Sandstrom, Associate Director, if you have any questions or comments. We look forward to working with you as we move forward and prepare!

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