Disaster Preparedness & Recovery

Librarian’s Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency Guidebook and Workbook

National Preparedness Month takes place every September and is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US Department of Homeland Security. One goal of Homeland Security is to educate the public about how to prepare for emergencies, including natural disasters, mass casualties, biological and chemical threats, radiation emergencies, and terrorist attacks.

Would you be ready if there were an emergency? Would your library? Be prepared: assemble an emergency supply kit, make your emergency plans, stay informed, and get involved in helping your family, your library, and your community be ready for emergencies.

PrepareAthon! is a grassroots campaign by FEMA for action to increase community preparedness and resilience. With that goal in mind, the New Jersey State Library commissioned the Librarian’s Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency Guidebook and Workbook to help libraries in New Jersey and across the country to be better prepared to accept the new mantle of responsibility being thrust on them as a safe haven in times of crises. First, these new resources will help make your library more resilient so that you can return to operations quickly. Second, we have provided guidance on how libraries can help speed the recovery of their community, and are key contributors to a resilient community.

For further information contact: Michele Stricker, Deputy State Librarian for Lifelong Learning at mstricker@njstatelib.org

Join others around the country to practice your preparedness!

Disaster Planning Slipsheet

Disaster comes in all shapes and sizes, from natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes to emergencies like fire, leaking roofs, and mold. An emergency can easily spiral into a disaster if you and your library are not prepared to respond.

Pocket Response Plan (PReP)

The Pocket Response Plan™ (PReP™) is a concise document for recording essential information needed by staff in case of a disaster or other emergency. Every person having a response-related assignment should carry a PReP with them at all times. Visit this page for more information and templates.

Ports in a Storm: The Library as Community Partner in Disaster Response

When disaster strikes, where do you go? After Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and New York in late October 2012, people went to their local library. Many community libraries were pressed into service as ad hoc Disaster Response Centers. Even though they may have sustained great damage to their own buildings, librarians rallied and were in the forefront of providing services and information to those in need, as well as respite from the storm. Unless under water or without power, our libraries were open, and were the place residents flocked to the morning after Sandy passed, accessing computers and free wireless to conduct business; to work from “home”; to contact relatives or their insurance companies; find tree removal specialists; fill out FEMA forms; or just to power up their devices and warm up. Libraries truly served their communities as ports in a storm.

Ports in a Storm Resources

National Network Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region, recently completed the following video highlighting the role of public libraries after an emergency.  The goal was for public librarians to show to first-responder groups, city councils, local government, etc. to promote the role public libraries play.  Many groups are not aware of all public libraries can and already do for the community and first responders and libraries have indicated that a video would be the best method to communicate this message:

Online videos and webinars are a great source of easily accessible information that can be viewed at any time and can be invaluable when, due to time and money constraints, traditional seminars, talks, or classes are not an option.

September is National Preparedness Month

2018’s theme is Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.

National Preparedness Month 2018 - Disasters Happen - Prepare Now - Learn HowTake time to learn lifesaving skills − such as CPR and first aid, check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as flood, earthquakes, and tornados. Make sure to consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency. Also, know how to take practical safety steps like shutting off water and gas.

The devastating hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters.  Often, we will be the first ones in our communities to take action after a disaster strikes and before first responders arrive, so it is important to prepare in advance to help yourself and your community.

Week 1:  September 1-8 – Make and Practice Your Plan

Week 2:  September 9-15 – Learn life Saving Skills

Week 3:  September 16-22 – Check Your Insurance Coverage

Week 4:  September 23-29 – Save For an Emergency

Libraries in the News

Disaster Resources

Disaster Planning Tools

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes, from natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes to emergencies like fire, leaking roofs, and mold.  An emergency can easily spiral into a disaster if you, and your institution are not prepared to respond.

Here is free template designed by the Northeast Document Conservation Center to help institutions of all sizes write comprehensive disaster plans.  dPlan can serve the needs of small institutions without in-house preservation staff, and library and museum systems that need to develop separate but related plans for multiple locations.

The most comprehensive disaster plans cover the four facets of the emergency management cycleprevention, preparedness, response, and recoverywhich correspond to before, during, and after a disaster. If you have been meaning to write a disaster plan but your efforts have stalled, the Connecting to Collections webinar recordings and course materials will help you establish the crucial first steps following a disaster.

Historically, public libraries often support their communities during crises with essential services, including access to the internet, assistance with e-government forms, and even shelter.  Preparing for all hazards means planning and training based on an analysis of a variety of risks, including natural and human caused. This is the All Ready Reference Guide to many of the free resources available through your local, state, and Federal government. The Guide is hyperlinked to take you to those resources. Use these resources throughout the emergency management cycle to prepare your library, and your community, to be All Ready. Note: the guide uses some Massachusetts based resources, but does contain general resources and good information. 

Extensive chart listing type of materials, priority for salvage, handling precautions, packing method, and drying method.  Includes not only maps and books, but also parchment and vellum, prints and drawings, paintings, computer media, audio, photographs of all types, transparencies, motion pictures and microfilm.

Resources on building a disaster resilient community, children in disasters, centers for disease control, help & resource guides.

One Page All Libraries (OPAL), a service continuity plan for libraries that helps you get your services up and running again, as quickly as possible, after a disaster.

In the wake of a disaster it can be difficult to know where to begin the technology recovery process.  With so many other pressing concerns how should you prioritize IT recovery?  What steps need to be taken immediately and which can wait?

Click on Disaster Recovery & Hurricane Preservation Technical Assistance for information specific to Katrina and Rita and some excellent assessment tools.

Community and state resources and information from the US Department of Homeland Security and other state and local governments.

Excellent emergency preparedness and response toolkit.

Sample Disaster Plans.

Resources, Suppliers, Vendors