Does History Really Repeat Itself?

Are we vulnerable to serious flooding again this summer and fall?

Hurricane Floyd Beats Out Fran with Record Flood Levels on North Carolina Rivers

“Flood levels from Hurricane Floyd exceeded those from Hurricane Fran, which occurred in September 1996.”

Who remembers this headline? I sure do, and not because I had any major weather damages, or worked for NC Emergency Management at that time. I remember for two reasons: 1. After experiencing the severe damages of Hurricane Fran in 1996, no one in eastern North Carolina thought that the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd could be worse. And 2.) I was working at summer camp both summers of 1996 and 1999. I clearly remember how very wet those summers were because of the constant re-arranging of programs due to rain, thunderstorms, minor flooding and muddy lakes.

Please pardon me if I am feeling a little bit antsy about the start of the 2013 summer. We were already completely saturated and showing a surplus in average rainfall before we encountered Tropical Storm Andrea last week. (I never thought “drought” would be a word I would long to hear.)

Therefore, once again, C2C is here to remind you that no one is exempt from disasters and that now is a good time to take stock of your facility’s current situation.

Some items to review:

  • Is the list of emergency contacts/phone numbers updated?
  •  Are a paper copy and/or flash drive of your inventory stored off site? (Preferably, in a freezer weight zip lock bag)
  •  Are your visitors and employees aware of safety drills and procedures?
  • Have the storm drains in your area been cleared?

Please take time to evaluate your site and collections, especially basement and attic storage areas. Check for leaks in the roof, walls, windows, and doorways. Be sure storage items are up off the floor in the basement. The preferred distance is 6 inches, but if things can be stored higher, please do so. Consider setting up temporary tables, extra shelving, using the tops of desks and any other creative way to protect the wonderful and special artifacts for which you are responsible. Tarps are a good stopgap measure to protect large areas from drips, or leaks. Take time to look outdoors and see if there is potential for damage from gusting winds.

Please call C2C with any questions you might have about preparation, prevention, or recovery. Remember that CREST  is available for recovery assistance for all NC cultural heritage collections. We hope that all of this is wasted time and energy and that everyone remains high and dry throughout the upcoming storm season – but please prepare your site in case the heavy rains cause flooding or structural damages.

Stay dry and stay safe all summer long,

Lyn Triplett (C2C)

P.S. Just to ponder: Do you know what FEMA calls yard art?

Answer: “Flying projectiles!”

gazebo+Sandy

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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 June 11, 2013, in disaster preparedness, hurricanes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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