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Disaster Planning for Libraries in Montana

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This session takes the knowledge gained by library staff in reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic and directs those lessons learned into improving planning for any type of disaster. Disaster planning is an important administrative function for boards and library staff because it helps the libary to not only mitigate damage or injury at the library, but it clearly defines the role of the library as an essential second responder service agency for the community to improve outcomes for everyone. Libraries may play a critical role in the initial response to a disaster sometimes, but they will always be critical to the recovery phase for their community.

Find the handouts for this presentation here: https://mslservices.mt.gov/ASPeN/Events/Event_Detail.aspx?Event_ID=19820

Attendees will learn about the incident response system that is in place in communities, regions and the nation, and explore how the assets of their library may enhance that response. The presentation will also explore what planning libraries should have in place to keep staff and patrons safe during and following a disaster, how to mitigage damage to collections and facilities, and strategies for providing for continuation/restoration of services. A pocket-sized response plan will be created so that all libraries attending will be ready for when a disaster strikes again.

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Disaster Planning for Libraries in Montana

  1. 1. Disaster Preparedness for Montana Libraries Adapted from a presentation by: Dan Wilson Assoc. Dir. Collections & Library Services Claude Moore Health Sciences Library University of Virginia Reynold’s Fire, Glacier National Park 2015: Jo Flick Joann Fick, CE Coordinator May 15, 2021
  2. 2. Today • Take account of what we’ve learned from COVID • Identify likely disasters that will impact library services • Consider the role of the library in response & recovery • Assess preparedness • Take specific steps from what we know to be better prepared – from response to recovery
  3. 3. Photo: CDC
  4. 4. Source: National Park Service 2017 Earthquake!
  5. 5. Source: Climate Change and the U.S. Energy Sector: Regional Vulnerabilities and Resilience Solutions, DOE 2015
  6. 6. Photo credit: Northwestern Energy
  7. 7. Lac Megantic, Quebec, 2013 Transportation Safety Board, CA
  8. 8. EMP Cheyenne Mountain Complex
  9. 9. Koppel asks us to imagine a blackout that could last months – where millions of Americans over several states are without running water, refrigeration, light, and a dwindling supply of food and medical supplies. A blackout could shutdown banks, challenge the police as they’ve never been before, and lead to widespread looting. –Forbes, 020716
  10. 10. What’s a Library To Do?
  11. 11. 1. We have a collection of useful print materials available in the event of a long- term power outage. 2. We maintain a response station (first aid kit, flashlights, bullhorn) in a known location. 3. We have thought out our communications strategy to include traditional and social media, and worst-case scenario (i.e., all communication channels are down). 4. We perform at least two drills per year for unplanned incidents and at least one tabletop exercise per year. 5. In the past five years, we have discussed salvage & recovery issues with a preservationist or salvage company (e.g. Munters, Belfor, or BMS) 6. We meet with emergency responders at least once every two years to review our response procedures. We have identified shelter-in-place locations. 7. We have a disaster team for keeping our core services available if the library is closed due to a major service disruption that convenes soon after a service disruption for an After Action Review (AAR). 8. Members of our library staff are aware of the importance of home preparedness. 9. We are familiar with the Stafford Act and have a relocation strategy. 10. We have mutual aid agreements with other libraries for disaster related assistance. How Prepared is Your Library?
  12. 12. 1. Charging Station: Emergency power is available at our library for patrons to charge devices following a major power disruption. 2.Meeting Place: Emergency planners/responders use our space for meetings and training. 3.Disaster Literacy: We work with our Public Health Department on projects such as helping to improve Disaster Literacy in our community. 4.Point of Coordination: Following a disaster, the library is designated as space for actions such as coordinating disaster volunteers or reuniting families. 5.Distribution Site: Our library is a designated site for water/clothing distribution. 6.Warming/Cooling Site: We flex our hours to accommodate the needs of our community following a disaster. 7.Education Site: We maintain a directory of individuals in our community who can provide programming on sustainability. 8.Sense of Normalcy: Our community views our library as a place to get a sense of normalcy following a disaster. 9.POD Site: Our library is designated as a point of distribution (POD) site in the event of a need for mass inoculations. 10. Mobile Response: We are willing to deploy our bookmobile to help our community after a major disaster. Roles for Libraries
  13. 13. 1. Emergency power is available at our library for patrons to charge devices following a major power disruption. 2.Emergency planners/responders use our space for meetings and training. 3.We work with our Public Health Department on projects such as helping to improve Disaster Literacy in our community. 4.Following a disaster, the library is designated as space for actions such as coordinating disaster volunteers or reuniting families. 5.Our library is a designated site for water/clothing/food distribution. 6.We flex our hours to accommodate the needs of our community following a disaster. 7.We maintain a directory of individuals in our community who can provide programming on sustainability. 8.Our community views our library as a place to get a sense of normalcy following a disaster. 9.Our library is designated as a point of distribution (POD) site in the event of a need for mass inoculations. 10. We are willing to deploy our bookmobile or other library vehicles to help our community after a major disaster. Are You Reaching Out to Emergency Planners?
  14. 14. Get Started • Form an emergency preparedness team • Reach out to emergency planners • Complete one page disaster plan • Support a culture of preparedness • Download the App
  15. 15. Questions? Joann Flick – CE Coordinator jflick@mt.gov

This session takes the knowledge gained by library staff in reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic and directs those lessons learned into improving planning for any type of disaster. Disaster planning is an important administrative function for boards and library staff because it helps the libary to not only mitigate damage or injury at the library, but it clearly defines the role of the library as an essential second responder service agency for the community to improve outcomes for everyone. Libraries may play a critical role in the initial response to a disaster sometimes, but they will always be critical to the recovery phase for their community. Find the handouts for this presentation here: https://mslservices.mt.gov/ASPeN/Events/Event_Detail.aspx?Event_ID=19820 Attendees will learn about the incident response system that is in place in communities, regions and the nation, and explore how the assets of their library may enhance that response. The presentation will also explore what planning libraries should have in place to keep staff and patrons safe during and following a disaster, how to mitigage damage to collections and facilities, and strategies for providing for continuation/restoration of services. A pocket-sized response plan will be created so that all libraries attending will be ready for when a disaster strikes again.

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