The National Archives joins other cultural institutions in marking May Day, when we ensure that we are prepared to safeguard our cultural property in the event of a disaster or other emergency.
Institutions conduct fire drills, update their emergency plans, host talks and workshops, and work to improve both preparedness for and response to emergencies.
Individuals can also set aside this day to make sure they are prepared to safeguard their family treasures. Some great information for institutions and individuals is available on NARA’s preservation web pages:
Happy May Day!
For those of you thinking about romps around the maypole, and cute kids dressed up as May kings and queens, think again.
MayDay is also a day when archives, libraries, museums, and other cultural organizations participate in a national effort to prepare for disasters. MayDay encourages us to take one simple step to protect the holdings under our care.
This year, Preservation Programs has created signs to hang in the stacks that list the First Four things you need to do if you see that records are at risk.
Although these signs are designed specifically for the National Archives, the concept holds true for any institution. The main things to remember are:
- Safety First!
- Report the incident (Exactly who to report it to will depend on your situation).
- Do not move wet records. It’s safer for you and the records to wait until the situation has been stabilized.
If the event is large enough, call a reputable recovery vendor who has experience working with document recovery.
Here at NARA, we take records emergencies seriously, and we all have a role to play in protecting the nation’s records against damage from emergencies. This is why all of our facilities have records emergency plans that are updated annually.
What are you doing for MayDay 2012?