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Is Your Library Ready For a Disaster?

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1 Is Your Library Ready For a Disaster?
Disaster Recovery Planning Melissa Lefebvre Bibliomation, Inc.

2 Background Information
Bibliomation is on of the library consortiums in the state consisting of: 49 Public Libraries 24 School Libraries Servers: 14 including , Web, Anti-virus, and ILS 8 onsite 6 at ISP location In it’s very basic form your disaster recovery plan is a document that describes the steps you will take to prepare for and prevent a disaster and, should a disaster occur, the procedures you will follow to respond to the disaster and recovery from it. The DRP must address three areas: 1.Prevention (pre-disaster): training staff in order to minimize the overall impact of a disaster. 2. Continuity (during a disaster): The process of maintaining core, mission-critical resources. 3. Recovery (post-disaster): The steps required for the restoration of all resources to full, normal, operational status. A DRP is an insurance policy; you pray that you’ll never need to use it but you’ll be glad you have it if you ever do.

3 Getting Started What’s a Disaster Recovery Plan anyway?
“A disaster recovery plan (DRP) or a business continuity plan (BCP) is a comprehensive set of measures and procedures put into place within an organization to ensure that essential, mission critical resources and infrastructures are maintained or backed by alternatives during various stages of a disaster. In it’s very basic form your disaster recovery plan is a document that describes the steps you will take to prepare for and prevent a disaster and, should a disaster occur, the procedures you will follow to respond to the disaster and recovery from it. The DRP must address three areas: 1.Prevention (pre-disaster): training staff in order to minimize the overall impact of a disaster. 2. Continuity (during a disaster): The process of maintaining core, mission-critical resources. 3. Recovery (post-disaster): The steps required for the restoration of all resources to full, normal, operational status. A DRP is an insurance policy; you pray that you’ll never need to use it but you’ll be glad you have it if you ever do. -Paul Chin “Introduction to Disaster Recovery Planning”

4 Getting Started Why do I need a plan? If a disaster does occur
If you’ve thought through various scenarios before they happen, it will make it far easier to recover from the disaster. If a disaster does occur Disasters can strike at any time. Whether you are faced with a power outage, a fire, flooding due to a faulty sprinkler system, or an evacuation because of an approaching hurricane, or region-wide blizzard, it pays to plan ahead. The plan guides you so that you can react swiftly, calmly, and decisively when faced with a situation beyond the normal everyday activities. Having a disaster plan in place before a disaster strikes can help you minimize the impact of a disaster and restore collections and services in an optimum time. Your plan will guide you step by step to recovery. You won’t have to think, the steps will already be laid out for you.

5 Getting Started Questions to ask:
If there is a disaster, how do we rebuild? What will it cost to get our library back up and running? What will it take to restore our services to the public? Where do we start and how? With a smart, comprehensive plan in place, the chance of your library surviving a natural or man-made disaster increases substantially. Your plan should provide useful information to the first person on the scene of the disaster regardless of the person’s expertise. So ask yourself the following questions:

6 Murphy’s Law “If something can go wrong, it will”
Disasters occur when: ▪ Key people are on vacation ▪ It’s a holiday ▪ It’s least convenient Don’t be lulled into thinking “It can’t happen here…” Disasters DO happen. Hurricane Katrina was a prime example of an catastrophic natural disaster. In all cases, preventing a disaster is cheaper then coping with the aftermath. There are some simple and inexpensive measures that you can do now to prevent a disaster or lessen it’s effects. For example, elevating everything 6 inches above the floor will prevent most water damage caused by leaks and minor flooding, welding shut the book return that empties into the building will help prevent vandalism, and having staff know where all fire extinguishers are and how to operate them will possibly save your library from avoidable fire damage.

7 Basic Steps Your Disaster Recovery Plan should:
Outline initial action to be taken in event of a disaster Outline long-term steps to complete a recovery effort Provide contact information essential to a successful recovery Your disaster recovery plan should: Remember that during any emergency or disaster, the protection and safety of human life must be the unquestioned first priority of all persons involved with the salvage effort. Do not enter, or allow others to enter a damaged or flooded area until officials declare it safe. Make sure that is written in your plan. So lets now talk about the writing of the plan

8 Writing the Disaster Plan
Steps: Survey the library building and grounds Take a complete inventory Outline the disaster recovery plan Write the plan Revise, revise, revise To get started writing you DRP follow these simple steps: Survey the library building and grounds: Monitor indoor air quality for temperature, humidity, mold and mildew. Monitor the collections and building for pests. Look for potential hazards both inside and outside the building (flammable materials, tree limbs hanging over the library etc.) Take a complete inventory: It’s impossible to make good decisions while your books are floating in the aisles, so if you don’t already have a shelf list, create one. This will prove vital in case of a disaster. Duplicate this list and keep a copy off site. It’ll do no good if it burns up or gets washed away. Another list to prepare or update is an inventory of supplies and equipment. Include costs and purchase dates, and keep a duplicate off site. Outline the plan: Involve library administrators, librarians, and support staff in the process because any disaster in the library will somehow affect all these groups. In your outline identify the Disaster Recovery Team, assign responsibilities and determine the priorities for rescuing and salvaging library materials. Establish a communication policy that identifies the library’s official spokesperson as well as an official communication outlet. Contact suppliers, contractors, and consultants who specialize in disaster response to identify the services that meet your needs and budget. Finally write down ALL the steps the library will take to recover from a disaster. Write the plan If you library shares the building with other tenants, the person writing the plan should cooperate as much as possible with the other tenants. Also your plan must include any off-site locations used for collection storage. And revise: To be effective, the disaster recovery plan must be current and accurate. You should review the disaster plan at least once each year and revise as needed.

9 Outline the Disaster Plan
Emergency telephone numbers and a list of contractors and service providers Disaster team members and duties Emergency Instructions Priorities for salvaging materials Recovery procedures Inventory of the disaster response closet Disaster reports When beginning to write the plan, it might help to outline each section, for example: Compile a phone tree of the disaster response team and also contact information for your security, maintenance staff, etc. Include their home and cell phone numbers when possible. Also list the names and telephone numbers of salvage experts to call upon in an emergency Assign the disaster recovery team and assign their responsibilities (I’ll talk more about this in detail a little later) Disasters are not linear. Seldom will a disaster occur as predicted or will a salvage goes as planned, so disaster team members must be ready to improvise. Remember to list alternates. Include emergency instructions which includes evacuation procedures, a staff gathering point, in addition to emergency instructions that cover severe weather, earthquake, fire, flood, bomb threat etc. Keep these simple and to one page. Priorities for salvaging materials: I’ll address this in detail a little later. No matter what the cause of the disaster, assume that the result will be wet materials that need attention as soon as possible. Recovery Procedures are exactly what you will do to get your library back up and fully functional. Recovery procedures are based on the damage assessment. Make sure you know what your insurance company will require of you and what any other organization (like FEMA) will need you to produce and what their rules are for recovery (can you remove items or does your insurance or FEMA have to make an assessment first?) these are all things you need to find out before hand. Inventory of the disaster closet: In order to respond effectively to a disaster you should keep essential supplies on hand such as flashlights, dehumidifier, electric fan, plastic sheeting to drape over book stacks precut and labeled, wax paper to interweave between pages, freezer wrap for covering wet materials going to a commercial restoration firm, latex or rubber gloves, paper towels, sponges, duct tape, scissors, dust masks, etc. Many institutions keep the supplies lashed to hand trucks thus making it easier to transport to the scene. Disaster reports: the librarian responsible for a certain area should write up a disaster report summarizing the incident. Make sure the report includes: date and time of disaster, the area of the library affected, a description of the disaster, the approximate number of pieces affected and discarded, photographs etc.

10 Disaster Recovery Team and Duties
Examples: Team Leader Recovery Specialist Crew Manager Supplies and Transportation Manager Recorder Photographer Communications Manager Looking more in depth at section 2 of our outline on Disaster Recovery Teams Your disaster recovery team must be able to mobilize quickly and be prepared to deal with three simultaneous events: the disaster itself, the failure and unavailability of resources, and end-user confusion Here are some examples of Team Member titles. The size of your library will dictate the # of members on your team and the # of team leaders. For a small staff, you may find that you have to double up on titles and responbilities. So for example: The Team leader is the person that manages the recovery and salvage operation and coordinates recovery activities. The team leader also handles publicity and public relations such as requesting volunteers. The Recovery Specialist is the person who develops specific recovery procedures for the library. He/she also trains library staff and volunteers to ensure that the appropriate recovery and salvage procedures are followed. The Crew Manager assembles and coordinates work crews of library staff and volunteers. In addition, because breaks, food, and refreshments can help improve the morale of work crews, the Crew Manager arranges for these amenities. The Supplies and transportation manager works closely with the Recovery Specialist to determine the supplies that the library needs to keep on hand for immediate response in the event of a disaster, and he/she also arranges transportation of library materials that are sent to commercial salvage companies. The Recorder maintains the list of priorities for recovery. The recorder tracks damaged materials sent from the library building and also corrects the library’s holding records when materials are discarded. Photographer helps document the disaster and subsequent recovery efforts by photographing or video taping the damage to the building. Communication Manager operates the library communications center and handles all incoming and outgoing calls. In addition to listing the team members remember to list alternates. This will help eliminate any uncertainties or arguments caused by unexpected circumstances. Disaster team members must be able to make speedy decisions, work effectively under high stress, and be comfortable in a leadership role. They also need to be able to keep their emotions in check. Discovering in the midst of a real crisis, that key personnel are unable to handle the pressure and responsibility of the disaster recovery will end up compromising the entire library’s ability to recovery from the disaster.

11 A Word about Mold Mold WILL grow within 48 hours unless the environment is stabilized Damp books in temperatures above 70°F and 70% humidity will be subject to mold Undisturbed archival files will not be so quickly attacked by mold Very wet books or those still submerged in water, will NOT develop mold In most disasters affecting libraries, you will most likely have to deal with mold. Mold will…… If temperatures and humidity are a problem, steps need to be taken to control the mold’s growth. During warm weather, turn on the AC, in cool weather turn off the heat. Once mold has started to grow, it will be necessary to utilize a fungicidal fogger but that must be left for the professionals.

12 A Word about Freezing Freezing water-damaged materials below zero degrees will stabilize mold growth Freezing will NOT remedy mold damages and it will NOT harm the materials further So if mold does start and you want to save the book, your main option is freezing. Freezing water-damaged materials below zero degrees, preferably -20 degrees, will stabilize mold growth and facilitate salvage efforts Freezing will NOT remedy mold damages and it will NOT harm the materials further. Evidence has shown that wet materials can be held in the frozen state for as long as 6 years without further deterioration.

13 Priorities for Salvaging Materials
Mold Questions to ask when setting priorities Categories First Priority (salvage at all cost) Second Priority (salvage if time permits) Third Priority (salvage as part of the general clean-up) Continuing with our outline and knowing what we just learned about mold and because mold growth may begin within 48 hours of materials getting wet you must know in advance which materials will be salvaged and which ones will not. When determining priorities ask the following questions: is the material critical for the ongoing operation of the library is the material available in another format or another nearby library would replacement cost more or less then restoration is the piece rare or important to the library’s collection does the piece require immediate attention (clay-coated paper, vellum, or water-soluble ink?) When establishing priorities for salvage here are some suggested categories First Priority: These are materials judged essential to the library operation such as personnel files, financial records, insurance policies. Before you duplicate these check to see if some or all of these materials are in a central file at the town hall, and if so these might be put as a lower priority. Then there are irreplaceable items such as unique books and manuscripts. Second Priority: These might be items such as microform master copies of rare books. You can establish as many levels of priorities as are judged necessary to your operation.

14 Most Common Salvage Methods
Air Drying Freezing Vacuum Freeze Drying Vacuum Drying Once you set your salvage priorities, you’ll want to decide on the best salvage method for your collections. The following are the most common salvage methods: Air Drying is labor-intensive and requires a great deal of space, but it’s tried, true and cheep. It can be on-site but should only be performed in a stable environment that is mold free. Freezing wet materials will stabilize them and provide you with time to determine your course of action. Freezing will also help to minimize smoke order. If the temperature outside is below 15 degrees place items in a secure area outside if a freezer is not available. Vacuum freeze drying is the safest and most successful salvage method for paper, although it’s the most expensive. And then there’s Vacuum Drying which cause materials to show signs of swelling and distortion, and tidelines may be present.

15 Special Problems during a Disaster
Mold and Mildew Asbestos Electric equipment Because staff and volunteers will be helping with salvage efforts as the writer of the DRP you must make special note in your plan addressing the following problems that may occur during a disaster: The spores of some molds and mildews are toxic to humans, causing flu-like symptoms and even death. Anyone with asthma, mold allergies, chronic respiratory diseases, or a compromised immune system should NOT enter the area until it’s clean, dry and tested for mold and mildew. While dry flakes of asbestos can be cleaned from books, there is no recognized way to salvage books and library materials that are wet with water contaminated with asbestos. Electric equipment and computers that have been wet should be treated carefully. Because of potential shock hazards, have a professional electrician check all circuits and equipment before the electricity is turned on. Liability is a major concern for employees and volunteers during the salvage operation, so check with your attorney before you address this part of your plan.

16 Recovery Procedure Steps
Assess the damage Stabilize the environment Activate the disaster recovery team Restore the area In your plan you will also want to list out recovery steps. For example your steps might be the following: First assess the damage: how much damage has occurred? What kind of damage (fire, water, etc)? Is it confined to one area or is the entire building damaged? Walk through the entire area and take extensive notes (use pencil, as ink will run), contact your insurance. Then stabilize the environment: Activate, pumps, fans, instruments to measure temperature and humidity, dehumidifiers, etc. Then activate the disaster recovery team: organize volunteer work crews Finally restore the area: After the damaged items have been removed and the environment has been stabilized, the damaged area must be thoroughly cleaned. Your handouts also include some other examples of DRP sections including a Form, Recovery Procedures, and emergency instructions to get you started writing your plan.

17 Tips DRP procedures must be written clearly and concisely
Assume that the people carrying out the DRP procedures will not be the same people who wrote it Avoid the use of acronyms Reference the title of the person not a name Maintain an up-to-date calling tree Be consistent with word usage and page layout Here are some tips for writing your plan: Write the procedures clearly and concisely, use an active voice and the imperative mood. Use precise room numbers and other locations. For instance don’t write “Go to the ILS office, and turn off the main switch” the responder may not know what ILS means or where the office is located. Instead write and “go in room 105, and turn off the main switch” Assume…. Avoid: unless they are widely used and recognized within the library Reference: this eliminates the need to constantly update the DRP should the listed person leave the library or change roles. Maintain… And Finally Be consistent with word usage and page layout, by presenting the material in a consistent manner, you help the reader understand the instructions. A consistent page layout gives the reader visual clues. Put the title and other information in the same place on each page. Remember that a disaster plan is never a fixed finished document – it evolves and gets better with time. Therefore, it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time you do it – the important thing is to get started on it.

18 DRP Resources Disaster Recovery Journal ( “Introduction to Disaster Recovery Planning” Paul Chin “Writing the Disaster Response Plan: Going Beyond Shouting “Help! Help!” Stephen Henson Preservation and Conservation for Libraries and Archives Nelly Balloffet and Jenny Hille Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists ( “Disaster Recovery Plan” Michael McColgin Colorado Preservation Alliance ( The Disaster Recovery Plan by Michael McColgin states it can be used for your own use.

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