Named by the Society of American Archivists after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma struck the Gulf Coast, “MayDay” – this year and every year – is a nationwide effort whose goal is to save our archival materials, no matter which type of cultural institution in which we work.
Here are a few things we can do that day that will make a difference when and if an emergency occurs, tasks that we can accomplish in a short period of time:
- Quickly survey collections areas to insure that nothing is stored directly on the floor, where they would be vulnerable to water damage.
- Note the location of fire exits and fire extinguishers.
- Review basic emergency procedures – currently being updated – in our Reading Room behind the service desk.
- Familiarize ourselves with the evacuation plan and where emergency supplies are stored – a good chance to check that flashlights are working!
- Update the contact information in our department staff list
These are just a few suggestions; there’s probably more we can think of. And it’s important that we sustain this effort, not just on MayDay.