The Heritage Emergency National Task Force is monitoring Hurricane Ian – and you should be, too! Now is the time to prepare.

The following content is also available as a Word document and a PDF at https://culturalrescue.si.edu/hentf/resources/federal-resources-cultural-stewards-and-emergency-managers/

It’s important that all individuals and cultural institutions prepare for possible strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding:

  • Track the storm via the National Hurricane Center, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.
  • Monitor information via the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS),  https://gema.georgia.gov/hurricanes and https://gema.georgia.gov/.
  • Gather your staff and review your disaster plan today. No disaster plan? Put that at the top of the to-do list once the storm passes (and hope you didn’t need it this time).
  • If you have a disaster plan, make sure everyone has a printed copy to take home. An electronic version may be useless if you lose power.
  • Make sure staff, volunteer, and board contact lists are up to date. Determine how you will communicate with one another before, during, and after the storm.
  • Make sure your insurance and disaster recovery vendor contact information is readily available.
  • If you don’t already have up-to-date images (photographic/video) of your facility’s exterior and interior, including storage areas, now’s the time to take them. Being able to illustrate how your building and collections looked before damage will be helpful if the need arises to pursue recovery financing. 
  • Back up electronic records and store the back-ups off-site or in the cloud.
  • Secure outdoor furniture, bike racks, book drops, etc. – anything that can become a projectile in strong winds.
  • Move collections that are in areas vulnerable to flooding – i.e., the floor, the basement – or susceptible to rain – near windows or under roofs.
  • If you have time, cut lengths of plastic sheeting to be able to throw them over shelves or equipment should the building envelope be compromised.
  • Know the location and shut-off procedures for water, electricity, and gas.
  • Review individual or family plans. You’ll feel better attending to your organization knowing that your loved ones are safe.
  • For tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane, go to https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
  • Keep this 24/7 hotline number handy: 202.661.8068. The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained conservators and collections care professionals, are available 24/7 to provide advice.
  • Download FEMA fact sheets “After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures” and “Salvaging Water-Damaged Family Valuables and Heirlooms,” available at https://www.fema.gov/assistance/save-family-treasures.
  • Familiarize yourself with the disaster declaration process in case one is declared for your state, https://www.fema.gov/disaster-declaration-process.

Let’s hope for the best but plan for the worst.

Please stay safe,

Lori Foley

Coordinator | Heritage Emergency National Task Force

Office of Environmental Planning & Historic Preservation

Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration | Resilience

Mobile: (202) 826-6303

lori.foley@fema.dhs.gov

culturalrescue.si.edu/hentf

National Preparedness Month: Georgia rains and flooding

With the recent rains and flooding in North Georgia, and with September being National Preparedness Month, it’s a good time to keep your knowledge up on salvaging wet materials from floods and other disasters. FEMA has a Fact Sheet on salvage, and remember that more salvage guides are located in HERA’s Resource tab. An upcoming online course on wet material salvage is being offered through PRESERVE THIS with an early bird coupon of $50.00 off using code SALVAGE. Find the course HERE. Stay safe everyone!

Timely resources from SAA: Flood + Wildfire

With wildfires ravaging the west and catastrophic flooding to the east, archives and archivists across the country are facing severe natural disasters. Please review and share the following resources with those in need! SAADisaster Recovery Resources: https://mailchi.mp/archivists/flood-hurricane-recovery-resources

Additionally, The Preservation Section of the Society of American Archivists holds a silent auction each year to support the National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives (NDRFA). If you know of anyone attending the SAA conference later this month, donations are being accepted for a silent auction to benefit the NDRFA: https://tinyurl.com/msep48me

NOAA predicts above-normal 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Kicking off on June 1, forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year — which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/noaa-predicts-above-normal-2022-atlantic-hurricane-season

HERA May Educational Webinar! Join us May 20, 2022, 2PM EST

Please join us for the yearly HERA educational event! This year brings Ann Frellsen, Book & Paper Conservator, and Consultant on Preservation and Disaster Planning & Recovery, speaking on the topic: Self-Care in Disaster Response and Recovery: Or How to Avoid Becoming a Disaster Yourself.

Webinar description: “In the aftermath of any size disaster, whether caused by a large storm, fire affecting a collection, flooding in the neighborhood, or the current pandemic, there are always many stressful things happening all at once. Ann offers her hard-earned lessons about what to be aware of and the steps you can take – physically and emotionally – toward ensuring a healthier response to any disaster.”

This presentation is a pre-recording with a live Q and A with Ann following.

Here’s the registration info. Feel free to share:

When: May 20, 2022 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Topic: Self-Care in Disaster Response and Recovery: Or How to Avoid Becoming a Disaster Yourself

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://emory.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KOfwi243Rzi6sEpx9inH-Q

Get Connected with HERA! https://linktr.ee/hera.atlanta 

Severe Weather Outbreak Expected West of Georgia Today

An outbreak of severe thunderstorms is expected this afternoon and evening across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, where the Storm Prediction Center has issued a Moderate Risk (level 4 of 5). While the main threat area is west of Georgia, this system needs to be closely monitored tomorrow for any lingering severe thunderstorms that may track into Georgia late Wednesday night through Thursday.

In the Moderate Risk area, tornadoes and strong damaging winds are likely, including the potential for strong (EF2+) tornadoes and significant gusts over 75 mph. The line is expected to move through Louisiana and Mississippi tomorrow afternoon and early evening. It is then forecast to move through Alabama as a weakening line of storms later tomorrow evening before entering western Georgia after midnight into early Thursday morning.

The main window for any strong to severe storms in Georgia would be early Thursday morning for western portions of the state and later Thursday morning and afternoon for the remainder of Georgia. SPC has issued a Slight Risk (level 2 of 5) for most of Georgia on Wednesday evening through Thursday evening. A cold front will bring gradual clearing from west to east throughout the day on Thursday before pushing the broken line of storms off the coast Thursday evening.