Tag Archives: disaster preparedness

Disaster Preparations

[This post is cross-posted from our records management blog, G.S. 132 Files.]

Hurricane Matthew is expected to move north along the east coast of the U.S. later this week and into the weekend. Even if the eye of the storm remains offshore, hurricane or tropical force conditions could still impact North Carolina. Those in the storm’s path should prepare for possible wind and water damage.

We are encouraging all agencies to stabilize your records storage areas before the storm hits, while also making sure that your response contact lists and resources are ready to use should your records be impacted.

  • Ensure that records are 3-6 inches off the floor, if possible. Consider relocating records out of the bottom drawers of filing cabinets, away from windows, and out of basement and attic areas.
  • Compile some recovery supplies, including plastic to cover cabinets, records boxes, and bookshelves.
  • Compile information on disaster recovery vendors.

In the event that your records do get impacted, please contact the State Archives immediately.

Becky McGee-Lankford (Government Records Section Chief) 919-807-7353

Sarah Koonts (State Archivist) 919-807-7339

Jennifer Blomberg (Head of Collections Management) 919-807-7308

Below are initial steps to take in the event that records are damaged by water:

Sample Inventory Control Forms

Initial Steps Before Recovery of Wet Records

Selected List of Disaster Recovery Services

Preservation Week Quiz: Friday’s Question of the Day

As part of Preservation Week 2015, the State Archives is partnering with the State Library of North Carolina on a Preservation Week Question of the Day – a series of questions related to the preservation of materials both physical and electronic. See the State Library’s blog to see their question of the day posts.

True or False: A majority of collecting institutions, more than 80%, do not have a disaster plan in place that can executed by trained staff.

  1. True
  2. False

Do you know the answer?  Find out below the cut.

Continue reading

Preservation Week 2015

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch.]

Preservation Week 2015 logo

One of the primary responsibilities of the State Archives is to preserve historically significant materials by preventing or slowing down their deterioration to prevent key information from being lost. The State Archives is again participating in Preservation Week to help build partnerships, help raise awareness about preservation, and to connect to the general public about preservation activities and where to look for preservation expertise.

The State Archives is collaborating with the State Library to conduct a social media campaign, daily preservation trivia question, exhibits, hosting a digital preservation webinar viewing, and posting additional blog posts on preservation tips and activities at the State Archives. For more information on our Preservation Week activities please see the Preservation Week flyer.

Preservation Week Resources and Webinars

Free Webinars

Date Topic Presented By
April 28 Moving Image Preservation 101 Siobhan C. Hagan
April 30 Digital Preservation for Individuals and Small Groups – The Government and Heritage Library and State Archives will be hosting a viewing of this online webinar at the State Archives and Library building in Room 208 2-3pm. Mike Ashenfelder
May 1 Disaster Response Q&A Nancy E. Kraft

The Care and Handling of Family Papers, Photographs, and Essential Records

The State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) in collaboration with the State Archives of North Carolina has produced a series of tutorials that provide basic information about the care and handling of family papers. These tutorials were funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The complete series is available on YouTube and selected tutorials are also available in the Preservation section of the State Archives website.

Videos in this series include:

  1. Identifying and Protecting Essential Family Records
  2. General Paper Preservation Tips
  3. Caring for and Sharing Family and Personal Papers
  4. The Care and Preservation of Family Photographs
  5. Managing and Preserving Digital Images



MayDay is here for the State Archives!

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch.]

May Day, May Pole dance, no date (1920's-1930's). From the Dunn Area (Lewis White Studio) Photo Collection, PhC.121, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.

May Day, May Pole dance, no date (1920’s-1930’s). From the Dunn Area (Lewis White Studio) Photo Collection, PhC.121, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.

This is the day we welcome spring, dance around a May Pole, and celebrate International Workers Day. It is also a day for cultural institutions to prepare for emergencies and complete a task that will have an impact on our ability to respond to an emergency.

What are we doing for MayDay?

The State Archives of North Carolina will be using this day to update our Pocket Response Plan (PReP) and distribute it to staff. The pocket plan folds down into a business card-sized document and has contact information for staff, first responders, emergency services, utilities, vendors and suppliers, and other essential individuals and agencies.

May Day Logo 2014

Logo for MayDay 2014. If you would like more information about MayDay please visit the Heritage Preservation website.

We are also updating our staff contact list in our Disaster Response Plan. This list will have all up-to-date contact information of staff work and home phone numbers, mobile phone numbers and email addresses. One of the most important parts of disaster response is knowing who to contact.

Please take some time today and do a small task that could make a difference in responding to a disaster. When reaction is prompt and efficient, the effects can be greatly minimized.

America’s PrepareAthon

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch. ]

America’s PrepareAthon logo

America’s PrepareAthon is a nationwide, community-based campaign that encourages preparedness actions and planning before a disaster or emergency strikes.

Today is America’s PrepareAthon! It is a nationwide, community-based campaign that encourages preparedness actions and planning before a disaster or emergency strikes. For more information on this campaign, please visit their website.

It’s not a matter of IF the next disaster will happen, but WHEN.

Disaster preparedness is a large part of the preservation activities at the State Archives of North Carolina and we want to help you and your family be better prepared when a disaster occurs. A disaster can strike anytime and proactive rather than re-active is the best approach. Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared. Below are a few things you can do to start to prepare your family.

  1. Sign up for local text alerts/warnings and download hazard-related apps to your smartphone.
  2. Create a family communications plan so that everyone knows how to reach each other and meet each other if separated during an emergency.
  3. Gathering all of your important documents and keeping them in a safe place.

Records about your family’s identity, health and financial resources are essential to identify, prepare and protect before a disaster occurs. The first step is to determine which records are essential. Your family’s essential family records may include:

  • Vital records (birth, marriage, divorce certificate, adoption, child custody papers)
  • Passport, driver’s license, Social Security card
  • Pet identification and papers
  • Financial and legal documents
    • Mortgage, leases, deeds
    • Vehicle documents
    •  Accounts: checking, savings
    • Insurance policies
    • Estate planning: will, trust, power of attorney
  • Medical documents (insurance cards, list of medications, immunizations)
  • Family photos albums or other historically important records

There are many ways to protect essential records and protection will depend on the quantity and format of the originals. Some of these include fireproof and waterproof containers, flash drives, external hard drives, secure cloud-based services, trusted friend or relative or a combination of all of these.

Disaster Response Kits

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch. For more information, visit the preservation page on our website and the Mid-Atlantic Resource for Disaster Preparedness by the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts and the National Endowment of the Humanities. ]

Prepare, respond and recover are the three key tasks of effective disaster response.  A records disaster may be caused by a natural occurrence such as a flood, fire or from a building hazard like leaking pipes or faulty electrical system. Whatever the cause, being prepared for a disaster is essential. Being organized, aware of procedures and having a plan in place before a disaster occurs is the best insurance against losing information. Disaster response involves putting the disaster plan into action and gathering all resources needed. When reaction to a disaster is prompt and efficient, the effects to the records can be minimized.

Important to every disaster plan is having available equipment and supplies in place prior to a disaster situation. Disaster response kits contain a variety of supplies and equipment for staff to respond immediately following a disaster, if the conditions are such that it is safe to do so. The kits need to be stored in an easily accessible location, preferably close to where disasters are most likely to occur. For these immediate response supplies, kits with wheels are good storage containers. They can be easily moved, keep contents clean and dry, and can be used to catch water in a leak situation.

A photo showing rain boots, rubber gloves, paper and pencils, and other items from the State Archives disaster kit.

Items like Nitrile gloves, N95 masks or respirators, protective safety eyewear, hard hats, and flashlights should be included in your disaster response kit.

Protection of human life and safety is the first priority at all times when responding to any type or size of disaster. Staff should never risk their personal safety to protect archival holdings. Staff personal protection equipment needs to be in the immediate disaster kit.  Some of these items include:

  • Nitrile gloves, N95 masks or respirators, protective safety eyewear, hard hats, rubber work boots, scrim suits, and plastic aprons – and ensure responders use this equipment.

The following are some basic supplies to meet immediate needs following a disaster that are commonly stored in disaster response kits:

  • Disaster response plan and forms; pencils; flashlights; headlights; batteries; paper towels or unprinted newsprint; absorbent pads; scissors and/or retractable knives; tape; plastic garbage bags and heavy-duty polyethylene sheeting.

All disaster response kits and additional disaster supply equipment need to be clearly marked as “Disaster Supplies”, to be used only in disaster response and recovery activities. These supplies do not need to be of archival quality. During a disaster, creative and practical use of supplies will be necessary for the success of the initial response.

In addition to disaster response kits for immediate response, there should also be additional in-house disaster supplies and equipment on hand for stabilizing the environment and recovery efforts. These types of supplies and equipment will vary depending on the type of collection material, staff levels and the institution’s funding capabilities.