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Hurricane Irma went through Tampa Bay this week and as a techie I was definitely not as prepared as I thought I should be with my technology disaster plan.

Some lessons from Hurricane Irma, and thoughts about going powerless for 40 hours.

 A good rechargeable power pack is a must. We have an EasyAcc and it was a lifesaver for keeping phones charged. I would like to get a second one for my hurricane prep (and travel) so we can charge additional devices or the same ones for longer. I had a few smaller ones that were definitely not as helpful. However, a UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector with USB Charging Port would be an overall better solution.

  • I took down computers and safely stored them but moving the few files that live on the computers to Dropbox would of been better and given me the ability to work remotely with no power for several days.
  • Additionally, we need to be better at preparing at the beginning of storm season and making sure we have a good battery powered radio and batteries – C and D sizes were a struggle to find in the week leading up to the storm (even on Amazon).
  • No power was extremely difficult but Facebook was an amazing resource for me during the storm and its aftermath.  As a business and/or a library, if you want to help your community it was definitely the social media people turned to in their moment of need especially for local resources and news.

    What lessons did you learn? What would you do differently?

 The core lesson, I learned is have a plan not just ideas! The chaos before the storm was not the time to try and remember where chargers, batteries and batteries packs had been tucked away. This is the lesson that translates to libraries… we need to have a plan for the worse case scenario.

  Some things I to consider for your disaster plan:

  •  Communication with staff and users…what is going on? can they help? can you offer help? How will this be done?
  • How will you communicate?  Many people lost phones (even landlines). For both staff and users, you will need a multi-facited approach. Email, Phones, Facebook, your website are probably good starting places…. But, what other communication tools are utilized in your community?
  • How is data backed up? There is a great on-demand session by Justin Denton on this topic at Florida Library Webinars.

 Overall, we were extremely lucky in Palm Harbor. Novare is here to offer help to libraries in Florida in anyway!