Do One Thing For Emergency Preparedness
The recent events in Boston and Texas are disturbing and unsettling for all American citizens. But for those of us charged with the protection and conservation of NC historical artifacts – everything from architecture to zippers – we must be realistic in being prepared for any kind of threatening event that might impact our facility or collections. Did you know that one of the bombs that detonated at the Boston Marathon last week was in front of the Boston Public Library? Did you know that the recent fires in Colorado threatened ancient burial grounds and historical cemeteries?
Many times buildings and collections are greatly affected by an initial event but not directly involved. These are what are called secondary disasters. These sites and their facilities contain memorabilia, artifacts, books, papers, maps, furniture, and countless numbers of other items that may be at a severe risk of being damaged or lost forever. Of course, when we have notices of hurricane watches and warnings, we can be on alert and make preparations. But what about when an event occurs that does not involve the weather? What would happen if there were a chemical spill due to a train derailment within a 10 mile radius of your site? Or if there were a fire next door but not directly in your building? Or a collapsed dam?
Heritage Preservation, a national organization dedicated to assisting institutions with the preservation of cultural materials, promotes awareness through its annual “MayDay” program. Participate by doing one thing to improve preparedness at your location. Please take time to ponder the needs of your site, collection or facility and make the effort to update your disaster plan. Are the emergency numbers and contacts still viable? Please make copies of your inventory and store them off site. Has your institution’s Recovery Priority List changed with the additions of new components?
If we are to continue to use cultural resources to build the social, cultural, and economic future of our communities, we must do the very best that we can to protect all that is in our care, regardless of whether the disaster is directly connected to us or is a secondary fallout. Please take the time to do one thing this month to reach a state of preparedness in order to protect and preserve our cultural resources. For assistance with writing, testing, to implementing your disaster plan, or if you would like additional information about navigating disaster preparedness, response and recovery please contact C2C’s Disaster Preparedness Coordinator, Lyn Triplett at 919-807-7293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.