Benjamin Franklin was Right!

image credit: waymarking.com

image credit: waymarking.com

Just because the disaster might be large, the preparation does not have to be overwhelming. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Taking the time to create a disaster plan is easier than you think. Several templates online create the format for you.  All that needs to be done is to fill in the information.  We especially like the downloadable version of the Pocket Response Plan. But if you google “disaster plan-template,” numerous possibilities will pop up.    Filling out the form is tedious, boring and definitely dull, but it really is NOT that difficult.  So much of the plan is repeated information that the wonderful ability to “copy and paste” makes this far easier to complete than you would think.  We are pleased at the number of places that have contacted us for assistance with writing and/or updating their disaster plans.  Several times, I have heard people remark that it was not as challenging as it first seemed.  Historic sites, libraries and museums have found this out as they worked with staff and boards creating their disaster plans for the first time.  It can be overwhelming to see that you need a plan for not only a tornado, but also a chemical spill, wild fire, and earthquake.  However much of the process and response is the same.  Copy and paste is your new best friend!  Questions such as who is in charge, where is a safe place to go, and who are the first people to contact, are answered the same regardless of the type of disaster.

Planning ahead for freezer storage is critical. Annmarie Reiley-Kay, Curator of Collections at the Earl Scruggs Center, and I have exchanged emails and brainstormed ideas for possible freezer storage. It is important to make these connections before a disaster so that you have confirmation of assistance when needed.  In the middle of a fire, or flood or broken water pipe there are too many urgent needs to have to try and figure out short-term freezer storage.     Make contact with the local grocery chain, icehouse, medical supply company or anywhere that has large freezer space on site.  UPS and FedEx are mobile and can come to you, but so could any trucking company with freezer capabilities.  Also, check around for the local food service distributor in your area.  Trucks with Kraft, Sysco, Southern Foods, and others will have freezing capabilities when brick and mortar places might be without electricity. Discussing your potential needs with these contractors will help build community respect through knowledge of your program and site.

It is already mid-April so add these ideas to your MayDay “Do One Thing” list for emergency preparedness.  Make a call to a local vender, Google that disaster plan template, and/or print the Pocket Response Plan and look it over. Later this week (4/17) Heritage Preservation is offering a FREE webinar to inform cultural institution staff members about Incident Command Systems. Participation will be a great way to jump start your MayDay disaster preparedness efforts. Please call, email us, or leave a comment below with your planned MayDay activity.

Ben was a very practical man.  He knew the worthiness of planning ahead and being prepared. We should too.

–Lyn Triplett, C2C Disaster Preparedness Coordinator

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About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on April 15, 2014, in disaster preparedness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Winston Atkins

    And don’t forget that if your organization has some sort of food service on site, they likely have a freezer. We have discussed this with the manager of our campus food service, for instance. Offering to double-bag our material it allayed their concerns about storing non-foods in their freezer, as did agreements that any use would be for the short term. Remember though, that space may be limited if they’ve just received a shipment of food. That’s what makes the additional options in this post invaluable.

  2. Great idea !! I will add it to the list of possibilities. Lyn

  3. Lundin, Lynette

    Hi,
    I want to thank you for these timely reminders and helpful information. It truly is wonderful.
    Lynette Lundin
    Special Collection Division
    516 Joyner Library
    JY Joyner Library

    (252) 328-0263 Phone
    (252) 328-268 Fax

  4. Always eager to help. The items cared for in NC are very special. Good to hear from you.

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