Down, but not out

Neil Rambo, Director of the NYU Health Sciences Libraries hit hard by a 14-foot storm surge of Super storm Sandy, used the words “down, in some senses, but not out” to describe his library system. (Jennifer Howard, “Storm Damage at NYU Library Offers Lessons for Disaster Planning in the Stacks.” The Chronicle of Higher Education v. 59, no. 13 (November 23, 2012): A18-19. Sandy continued to demonstrate the possibility of supersize disasters, a trend revealed earlier by Katrina, Rita, Irene, and the Midwestern floods of 2008. Burst pipes cannot compare to the magnitude of these storms. Jennifer Howard lists some potent resources for libraries hit by such disastrous storms:

  • American Library Association
  • The National Library of Medicine’s Disaster Information Management Research Center
  • The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
    • Training in disaster response
    • 24-hour hotline
  • Heritage Preservation’s Emergency National Task Force
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency

However, just as charity begins at home, disaster recovery begins on site. It is essential to be prepared. The ingredients of this recipe include

  • Good communication
  • Updated disaster plan on PAPER, should the power be out
  • Partnership with risk management experts
  • Names of companies that specialize in disaster recovery (Belfor is named in the article)
  • Priorities of what to save first
  • Supplies on hand
    • Absorbent fabric, Tek-Wipe
    • Plastic sheeting, boxes, and trays
    • Batteries and flashlights, especially headlamps which free up hands
    • Clipboards, paper, and pencils

Reading this article provided the above takeaways. Judged especially important were the necessities of partnering with risk management, setting salvage priorities, and assembling supplies Before A disaster!

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