MayDay Preparedness is Everyone’s Business
Did you know that, in 2021, the U.S. experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, putting 2021 in second place for the most disasters in a calendar year, behind the record 22 separate billion-dollar events in 2020? (Climate.gov) Tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes and tropical storms led the list of significant weather events last year. NOAA adds, “It is concerning that 2021 was another year in a series of years where we had a high frequency, a high cost, and large diversity of extreme events that affect people's lives and livelihoods—concerning because it hints that the extremely high activity of recent years is becoming the new normal.”
Severe and unpredictable weather events, aging infrastructures, and human errors continue to take their tolls on buildings, collections, and the preservation and service work archives staffs do. As archivists, librarians, and curators, we know that preparedness is critical when disaster strikes. We have our emergency preparedness plans, we practice our drills, we take our training seriously. However, it’s hard to be completely prepared for disasters that are massive in scope.
Already this year, CoSA’s Disaster Recovery Fund made a $2,000 donation to the Friends of Kentucky Public Archives to assist with materials purchase for the many local government archives that were severely impacted by the tornadoes that swept through the western part of the state. The Friends of Kentucky Public Archives also double-matched CoSA’s donation, to allow the Kentucky State Archives to provide quick assistance to government offices with records affected by the tornadoes. As they have in the past, our friends at Gaylord Archival provided a matching amount of products to help in recovery efforts.
That’s why CoSA continues its advocacy for training and education around emergency preparedness. You’ll find a wealth of emergency preparedness resources at our website, including four tipsheets that were prepared in collaboration with the Polygon Group: The 4 R’s, Risk and Readiness, Response and Recovery, and By the Numbers. We hope you’ll share them widely, including with your SHRABs.
When CoSA launched its Disaster Recovery Fund four years ago, its purpose was to provide modest support to state and territorial archives recovering from natural disasters. Over the years, CoSA has used these funds to help archives devastated by hurricanes and flooding. We couldn’t have done this without your support.
MayDay allows us time each year to consider what we can do to make a difference when (not if) an emergency occurs. In recognition of MayDay 2022, CoSA asks for your help to replenish and grow the Disaster Recovery Fund so that we have resources available to help when and where it is most needed.