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Disaster Preparation, Response and Recovery
Disaster Preparation and Planning
Disasters and emergencies come in many different forms.
Libraries can find their premises, collections, staff and users under sudden threat, in the case of a fire or burst water pipe in the building. They can be part of a bigger disaster, for example a flood, not only damaging the building and contents, but also affecting the wider community. Libraries sometimes emerge unscathed from a disaster and become part of the essential support service afterwards, as happened in the 2009 Victorian bushfires and the 2011 Queensland floods.
A well documented and tested disaster plan can ensure library staff respond quickly and effectively, minimise loss of stock and equipment, ensure the safety and well being of staff, provide continuity of service in some circumstances, and recover quickly. Plans are most effective if staff are trained in using the disaster response plan, and the plan is easily accessible when it's needed most.
ALIA has prepared a number of guides and templates to get you started towards disaster preparedness.
You may also find the following guides useful in preparing your library for all situations:
Be Prepared - written by the Collections Australia Network, this publication contains information for smaller institutions on assessing and planning for disasters such as training needs, assessment considerations, safety and damage checklists and templates based on established disaster management plans.
The Personal continuity plan - prepared by RIM Professionals Australasia - is designed for households and the continuity of personal records and photographs.
In an emergency, you may not have time to formulate a plan and communicate this to your staff in time. Be prepared to act quickly and efficiently by preparing your response using ALIA's Quick Guide to Disaster Response.
Events such as the 2010 Christchurch earthquake and the 2011 Queensland floods show that it can take months or perhaps even years for libraries and communities to recover from disaster.
ALIA assists libraries with disaster recovery through:
Sue Hutley, ALIA Executive Director
We would like to add more case studies and examples of best practice from libraries around Australia where staff have faced emergency situations and can share what they have learnt with library colleagues. If you have something to contribute, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information or inquiries about disaster recovery, please call ALIA National Office