We are sharing these tips from Lori Foley, Administrator for Heritage Emergency Task Force and we ask that you please share widely with colleagues and constituents. Lori’s contact information is at the bottom of this post.
Please share the following information TODAY with your members and constituents, and ask them to pass it along:
Tropical Storm Nate will move into the southern Gulf of Mexico Friday night and approach the northern Gulf coast Saturday evening. Strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Nate is expected to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles mainly to the east of the center. Look for rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches over U.S. Central Gulf Coast states. (NOAA Update, October 6, 2017, 5:00 a.m. EDT)
As Nate approaches the northern Gulf of Mexico, it’s important that individuals and cultural institutions in these states prepare before the weekend:
- Track the storm via the National Hurricane Center, http://www.nhc.noaa.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, signage, 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) out of harm’s way.
- If you have time, cut lengths of plastic sheeting to be able to throw them over shelves, cabinets, 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.
- Download the FEMA mobile app for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app (available in English and Spanish) provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters. https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app
- Download the free ERS: Emergency Response and Salvage app, based on the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel, http://www.conservation-us.org/emergencies/ers-app.
- 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 administered by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation, are available 24/7 to provide advice.
- Download FEMA’s “After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures” fact sheet, with tips and resources for individuals and institutions,https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/113297.
- Familiarize yourself with the disaster declaration process in case one is declared for your state, https://www.fema.gov/disaster-declaration-process.
- Heed advice from local officials and monitor the situation on your state’s emergency management agency website:
o Louisiana’s Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP): http://gohsep.la.gov/
o Mississippi Emergency Management Agency: http://www.msema.org/
o Alabama Emergency Management Agency: https://ema.alabama.gov/
o Florida Division of Emergency Management: http://www.floridadisaster.org/index.asp
o Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency: http://www.gema.ga.gov/Pages/default.aspx
FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution co-sponsor the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a partnership of 42 national service organizations and federal agencies created to protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies.
Administrator, Heritage Emergency National Task Force
Office of Environmental Planning & Historic Preservation
Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration
FEMA | DHS