Thursday, May 10, 2012

Being Prepared

     I received a reminder this week that the G8 Summit will be taking place shortly at Camp David.  The NMCWM is located within driving distance from that location.  So the good news is that we may get a few more visitors.  However, it has also been pointed out that these summits do sometimes attract protesters, and that sometimes they are not the peaceful kind.  We were all reminded to review the museum’s Emergency Plan.  We hope we won’t need to use any part of the plan, but it doesn’t hurt to review the procedures so that we will be prepared for whatever might happen.

     The Emergency Plan covers a number of potential threats including fires and floods, power outages, weather issues, earthquakes, bomb threats, robberies, as well as civil disturbances.  The plan designates the people in charge, the emergency numbers to call, and the procedures to follow in order to assure the safety of the staff and visitors to the museum. 
The museum keeps an emergency kit like this one on each floor of the building. The kits contain emergency supplies like water, duct tape, plastic sheeting, work gloves, masks, rope, flashlights and batteries.
The museum also keeps first aid kits on each floor of the building. They are monitored and restocked regularly by a designated staff member.

     It is always wise to have a plan and some basic supplies in place for unexpected situations.  Knowing the proper procedures and having some basic supplies will enable people to better handle the emergency, and could even save lives.  This is true for your own home and family as well.  I’ll go just a bit off topic here and point out that it isn’t difficult to obtain and fill a plastic tub or two with some first aid and emergency supplies for your family. 

You never know what might happen. Several years ago this car actually hit the side of our museum building! Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

     Though the safety of the people in the museum building is the first consideration, we also have supplies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of the museum’s exhibits and collection. 
This container is made to transport wet books. It is made of corrugated plastic so that it is strong, lightweight, and waterproof. They are designed to store flat, but we use some of them to store emergency supplies for the collection like plastic bags, gloves, and blotting paper.

This is shot from inside the collection room. Here you can see the fire alarm, a fire extinguisher (with a tag indicating it has been recently inspected!), and an Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel. The wheel is a quick source of information for dealing with damage to different types of materials.

     I hope we never have to deal with a fire, flood, or any other emergency situation.  However, it’s good to know that we have procedures in place to deal with them, that we are prepared with supplies, and that we have emergency resources identified in case we do need them. 

*Note – Ironically, the fire alarm went off a few minutes after I finished this post!  It was not a drill.  The museum staff quickly cleared the building and accounted for everyone.  Within a couple of minutes the fire trucks had arrived.  The firemen discovered that the alarm had gone off in response to a small amount of smoke in the elevator control room.  It turned out that a pump in the museum’s elevator had overheated.  I was very relieved to learn that the smoke had been contained and hadn’t affected the artifacts!

Here come the fire trucks!

Staff members Adele, Katie, Kent, and Tom (with Sawyer) waiting at the appointed meeting place for the “all clear” announcement.

Frederick’s finest firemen at work! 

It appears that I picked the correct week to cover Emergency Preparedness!

Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. 

1 comment:

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