As hurricane Matthew continues on its path, it’s a good time to take some steps to prepare yourself and your collections for a storm. Follow these steps to be on your way to preparedness, and please reach out to us if your institution is in the path of a hurricane. Our 24/7 emergency response number is 504.300.9478 and contact Annie Peterson, Preservation Services Librarian, for advice or to ask questions.

Check your disaster plan.

Is all contact information up to date? Do you have contact information for any new staff? Are your vendor and insurance contacts up to date?

Don’t have a disaster plan? Make sure you’ve got critical phone numbers.

For emergency assistance with collections salvage, call LYRASIS at 504.300.9478 or the National Heritage Responders at 202.661.8068. Both numbers are available 24/7.Note numbers for your insurance contacts, and vendors for emergency collections recovery. Find a list of collections salvage vendors here. Be sure you can communicate within your organization too – gather contact information (cell phone numbers, alternate email addresses) for staff so you can contact each other without relying on your email server.

Move collections away from leak prone areas. Raise collections off the floor so they won’t absorb water from leaks.

Put collections on shelving if available, or use pallets or other temporary solutions to get any collections (even that unprocessed backlog, even items that aren’t on a permanent retention schedule) off the floor. If collections are on the floor and water intrudes, they’ll quickly absorb that water, but a few inches off the ground and they may stay dry. You’ll thank yourself later! Plastic sheeting can also be used to drape over collections that cannot be moved but where water could enter the building.

Check your disaster supplies – do you have everything you need for collections salvage?

Make sure you’ve got some basic supplies like working flashlights, gloves, and absorbent materials for response to a minor incident. View one example of a disaster response supply kit here.

Secure outdoor furniture, bike racks, and book drops.

Make sure anything that can blow around in very high winds will not cause damage to your building, and book drops in the building that could blow open are secured shut. Do this at home too – secure garbage cans, lawn furniture, and anything that can become a projectile in high winds.

Review your personal or family plans, and your supplies at home too.

Do you have flashlights, batteries, cash, and a first aid kit at home? A full tank of gas in your car? Collect any critical information you’ll need if you must evacuate. Make sure everyone in your family knows the plan of action for the hurricane. Is you cell phone charged so you can use it to communicate? Consider an external backup battery and charge that too.

Don’t forget to plan for your pets!

Find more information on preparing your pets for an emergency at here.

For more hurricane preparedness tips, and information on what to do during and after a storm, visit the link below.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips