I I I
INPORHATlON NVS.M IVTI oI)IN
There are a number of natural disasters to which the
Caribbean and Latin American region are susceptible.
They are hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and ol:canic
Information units in this region must be ever mindful
that precautionary measures must be taken to prevent
the far-reaching consequences of the loss of
Prudent planning can result in the preservation of
important documents. Many organizations that have
been ill equipped and unprepared for natural disasters
take years to recover from disasters. Unfortunately,
some never do.
Within any organisation there are vital records and
other materials that, if lost or damaged by natural
disaster, are irreplaceable.
* Essential for the continuing operation of the
* Critical, as they contain information essential to the
recreation of the organisation's legal and financial
position and preserve its rights and those of its
employees, customers and stakeholders.
* Personnel Records Where would you be if your
rI..-,,I oe f I inl: \ e nii t r i dc- .ti,-\tcl
).e\ \,.a el Ir a1 I rLitr-d ant and S5 i
* Accounting Records How would your business
continue if records of transactions of insurance
policies investments, bank accounts. title deeds
and income tax information were lost through an
* Archives What would researchers and educators
do if documentation of the country's history were
lost under volcanic ash?
* Computer Data How useful would your computer
data and software be if they have been damaged or
carried off by flood waters?
There are several measures, which can be taken to
prevent or minimize the consequences of a natural
disaster. These measures are preventative and/or
restorative in nature. The first step is to educate
yourself about these methods.
sess your situation
begin n by asking \ ou sII questions like the following:
* What disasters are you and your organisation prone
* Where and in what circumstances could water get
into the premises?
e Can the glass doors and windows withstand
hurricane force winds?
:~ combat \ulnerabilitiiu you can
* Fasten shelves securely to the walls.
* Invest in water proof safes for
* S[re documrL ents, [\%\, 12
feet or more abol e floor
let el and away trom
* Back up computer data and store off-site.
* Store ital documents and materials oft-site in
a protected location in impending danger.
* Develop an emergency plan and communicate
to staff their expected response after a disaster.
* Paper is very fragile when it is wet. Handle it
* If caked mud has to be removed from items,
use rubber gloves and agitate them in clear
water if still wet, except in cases where images
are blurred, feathered, or faded as a result of
Wet books, documents, or photographs which
cannot be air dried within two days should
be frozen to inhibit mold growth.
* Place interleaving material between the text
block and the front and back covers.
If time and supplies allow, interleaving material
should be placed throughout the text as well.
Fan volumes open and stand them on edge
with the interleaving paper extending beyond
the edges of the book.
Clean, white paper towels, strong toilet paper,
and unprinted newsprint may be used for
interleaving in the drying process.
* Air dry flat in small piles 11 2 inch or i
it possible. Change blotting material beneath t "
materi. l a,, it become, soaked.
l lphs and Negatives
* Avoid touching the surface of photographic prints
* Never freeze old photographs or negatives. Most
prints, negatives, and slides may successfully be
individually air dried face up.
* Change blotting material beneath the photograph
as it becomes soaked.
* Contemporary photographic prints and negatives,
which are still wet and have stuck together, may
separate after soaking in cold water.
* Remove the backing material from the frame.
* If the item is not stuck to the glass, carefully
remove it from the frame and air dry.
* If the object appears to be stuck to the glass, do
not attempt to remove it from the frame.
* Dry intact with the glass side down.
-alt.r.ll r, in "Emergenry Saloage- of Wet Phoiographs "
NAICtI Fi-bruarv 1'-91 NIorlth,~i D uniurnent
S.in4-c r'. 1i,.ion C(- nter. I 'S 1 J 'v'1-4
hl4. .a -.. n.-dcc.,r
Bankrate.com. "Disaster Proof your Important Papers."
Bank rate. 30 April 2004. Bank rate Canada. 05 May 2004
"Case Study 1: Costa Rica Section 2: Definition of Vital Records."
No date. UNESCO 05 May 2004
"Disaster Recovery." Datacentreservices. No date.
Hosting and Datacentre Services. 05 May 2004
"Off-Site Data Storage: the Ulti.mate Protection for
Disaster Recovery." The CSC Group.
No date. CSC 05 May 2004
i r..r. .-i., Archives and Manuscripts against Disasters:
Advisory Memorandum no. 6." HMC March 2002
Historical Manuscripts Commission. 05 May 2004
i ; '.1. ,l Your Documents against Fire & Flood."
Emergency Essentials Online. 14 August 2001.
Emergency Essentials. 05 May 2004
Youn, Jacy L. "Preparing for Disaster before It Strikes."
Hawaii Business. May 2003.
Notes compiled by Hazel Hazzard Samuda, Librarian II for
National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS)
Sponsored by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
Head Office: The National Library of Trinidad and Tobago
Hart and Abercromby Streets, Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
P.O. Box 547, Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
o- i 4 I IJC, t3; I ','I: 7. 24-.44 I, 32; t, L.7, (Q ;':. ". 71
6227-1871, 614.7-i41; b34-3401