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Ready, Willing and Enabled: Disaster Preparedness & Response for Libraries


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MT State Library Fall Workshops 2015 - presented by Jo Flick, MT State Library and Robin Suzor, MT Department of Health and Human Services/Emergency Medical Services for Children

This three hour training introduces disaster preparedness to Montana library staff, and explores the important role that libraries can play in a community's disaster response. Libraries assess their readiness and practice using a table top exercise as training to develop greater awareness. Practical information about procedures and players in a disaster response is revealed. A case study of the response of libraries in New Jersey to Hurricane Sandy reveals some of the assistance that libraries were found to be uniquely qualified to provide in that large-scale, long-term response and recovery.

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Ready, Willing and Enabled: Disaster Preparedness & Response for Libraries

  1. 1. READY, WILLING, & ENABLED Disaster Preparedness & Response for Libraries FallWorkshops, October 2, 2015 Joann Flick, Montana State Library Robin Suzor, MT Department of Public Health & Human Services: Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Burlington County Library, Evesham branch, NJ – after Hurricane Sandy
  2. 2. Are you ready? Paris Library, 1910
  3. 3. How did you do? Wasatch Front Regional Council, photo: Farmington, Utah
  4. 4. A disaster is any event that overwhelms local resources… NY Public Library, 1948
  5. 5. What if… Missoula Public Library
  6. 6. Library’s role?
  7. 7. Table top exercise: 15 minutes  Divide into groups of 3-6 persons each  Packet:  Scenario – what happened, who needs help  Map  Community resources  Decide how your library will respond:  Immediately  Within the first hour  Within the first day, second day, third day…
  8. 8. A case study Hurricane Sandy & NJ Libraries
  9. 9. Any public library that does not embrace its role as a disaster recovery center in the event of an emergency represents a lost opportunity to provide an essential service to the community – NJ State Library Ports in a Storm – NJ Public Library presentation 2013
  10. 10. First Responders – Second Responders Ports in a Storm – NJ Public Library presentation 2013
  11. 11. Library = Safe haven
  12. 12. Treasures
  13. 13. Hurricane Sandy – lessons learned  Have a disaster response plan that is updated annually:  Work with your county emergency planner  Write a one-page continuity of service plan – review that twice per year  Create a response-continuity team  Know shelter locations/resources  Communications plan  Specific resources/services your library can provide  Keep your website/social media accessible  Prioritized list for recovery of valuable & hard-t0-replace materials in your collection  Agreement in place with Belfor, BMS or Munters
  14. 14. Hurricane Sandy – lessons learned  Prepare & train staff  At least one evacuation drill per year  Follow with a staff-wide assessment  Include a table-top exercise  Know how to contact staff in an emergency; have them connect with the library as soon as they can  WESPAS – document-book recovery training  Prepare your facility  Be sure your library is in line to get power and Internet access restored ASAP  Stock up – have an emergency kit ready  Know your facility weaknesses – address them  MutualAid agreements with other libraries
  15. 15. Hurricane Sandy – lessons learned  Prepare your community  Provide information on disaster planning in your community; help promote disaster preparedness  September is disaster preparedness month  October is fire safety month  Partner with First Responders and emergency planners in your area  Host/attend a CERT training
  16. 16. Pediatric issues during a disaster  Temporary safe have  Resources to other shelters in the community: books, toys, programs  Temporary vs. LongTerm shelter procedures  The role of local authorities  Red Cross & FEMA
  17. 17. Pediatric issues during a disaster  Unaccompanied minors  Disaster response laws/regulations go into effect during an emergency  Immediately: get an account of what children are at your library; keep track of every single kid  Reunification procedures  Tracking & reporting
  18. 18. YOUR STATE LIBRARY  What more should the MSL be doing to help libraries prepare and respond to an emergency?
  19. 19. “Lolo was experiencing terrible fires with evacuations. People came to the library to find out the latest information on the situation, were able to use the computers to notify friends and family and I extended the hours to accommodate these folks and help them find community resources. It felt good to be able to help and the community was truly thankful that the library was available to help them through this trying time.” …Erin Casey, Lolo Branch Library Lolo 2014 wildfire Photo: Missoulian