Fires and flooding are currently causing many folks to evacuate their homes in areas of Texas and along the Susquehanna River in New York and Pennsylvania. (The flood level at my hometown, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, which sits along the Susquehanna, is expected to crest tomorrow morning near the record level set back in 1972 by Hurricane Agnes.) Anxiety, the need for information, and a strong desire for things to return to normal, often accompany displaced families. As libraries continue to build service continuity plans and become aware of the many roles they can play in a disaster situation, the emotional impact of disasters on communities will be lessened.
Archive for the ‘Fire’ Category
It’s been 25 years since the historic Los Angeles Public Library fire, which occurred on April 29, 1986. See an article about it here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/04/los-angeles-public-library-fire.html. As the article notes, over 400,000 items were destroyed and many, many more were damaged by smoke and water. Other reports note that everyone was evacuated safely from the building–the initial alarm sounded at 10:52 AM. It took hundreds of firefighters and supporting resources from around the area to suppress the fire; the report from the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Historical Society, cited in the article, notes that the fire was declared a “knock down” at 6:30 PM. The fire was started by an arsonist in one of the stacks areas of the library. The Library re-opened to the public in October of 1993.
When we teach about risk assessment, we mention book drops as potential targets for arsonists. Here’s a story about a fire started in a book drop at the Portsmouth Public Library in Portsmouth, Virginia:
A bag of popcorn burning in a microwave at the Kansas State University Hale Library in Manhattan, Kansas, set off the library’s sprinkler system a couple of months ago. As Rebecca Brown, Kansas Outreach and Technology Liaison (NN/LM MCR), stated in an email message, “a good example of a not-so-obvious cause of a disaster.” Thanks to Char Simser and Renee Gates for permission to post these pictures.