Monthly Archives: July 2015

What is a disaster kit?

What is a disaster kit and why is it important? The purpose of a disaster kit (or emergency kit) is to have supplies and safety equipment on hand to contain a disaster at your institution. Disaster kits are important because they allow staff to respond to emergencies quickly and safely without relying on facility management staff or a trip to the hardware store for supplies. A quick response may inhibit the emergency from escalating or contain the disaster until more help or supplies arrive.

What should you include in your kit? Supplies that would help you to respond immediately to an emergency, such as absorbent socks or polyethylene sheeting for leaks, supplies that would help you address damaged records, such as blotting paper or acid-free paper for interleaving, and personal protective safety equipment, such as gloves and hardhats. A copy of your disaster plan should also be available in your kit for quick reference. ASA has a list of suggested supplies to include in you kit on our website: http://archivesalberta.org/doc/Disaster_Response_KitNEW.pdf

How should you store your kit? It is beneficial to store all of your disaster supplies in one location for ease of use. You should ensure the container for your kit is portable and not too heavy (consider a container with wheels). Place frequently used materials near the top of your kit for easy access. It is also important to store the kit in an easily accessible area or near problematic areas in your facility, such as a leaky heater, to speed up response times.

How do you secure your kit? A container full of supplies is a treasure trove for archivists and conservators alike. Although it may be tempting to use these supplies and equipment, you may use up supplies needed if an emergency occurs. It is beneficial to seal the emergency kit and include a list of supplies within the kit on the outside of the container. If the seal is broken, a designated staff member is responsible for replenishing any missing stock. This method secures the kit and guarantees supplies are available in case of an emergency.

A disaster kit can be an expensive investment; however, it ensures there are basic supplies and safety equipment available to address emergencies that may impact your institution and collection.

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Legal Archives Society of Alberta has a new website!

We are pleased to announce that the Legal Archives Society of Alberta has a new and improved website www.legalarchives.ca.

There are several new features that allow for easier navigation and a more interactive experience:

  • Virtual Galleries and Multimedia: includes images from LASA’s large photograph archives, as well as a list of all LASA’s oral histories, including recorded samples;
  • Donate online: now you can make your generous gift to help LASA preserve and promote Alberta’s legal heritage with a quick and secure donation;
  • Publications: we have a list of all our publications, including a free download of Leonard Brockington: A Life by Edward M. Bredin, Q.C.  You can also browse back issues of LASA’s bi-annual newsletter, Architypes, which includes many interesting articles on Alberta’s legal history.

There is much more to be found on LASA’s new website, including many of the services our experienced staff offer to help you explore Alberta’s legal history.

Please visit www.legalarchives.ca for more information on the Legal Archives Society of Alberta, and for upcoming events.

The Disaster Management Session at the Canadian Association for Conservation Conference

The 41st Annual Canadian Association for Conservation Conference was held in Edmonton, Alberta from May 28-30, 2015. The Lead Conservator attended the entire conference and the Lead Archivist attended the final day of the conference.

Amanda Oliver, Lead Archivist, presenting at the CAC conference. Photo Credit: Yesan Ham

Amanda Oliver, Lead Archivist, presenting at the CAC conference. Photo Credit: Yesan Ham

On May 30, the conference hosted a session entitled ‘Disaster Management’. The session began with a paper by Sue Warren called, ‘Canada Science and Technology Museum – Crisis Management’. She discussed the difficulties she experienced with her institution’s facility, where high levels of airborne mould were found as a result of multiple leaks in their roof. Warren shared her experience dealing with an abrupt closure and mass conservation treatments of artefacts from the museum.

Next, Sarah Little, Rebecca Delorme and Sarah Storck presented a paper entitled, ‘Staying Afloat: The Challengers of Recovering from a Major Flood at a Small Museum”. The speakers shared their experience recovering museum artefacts from the June 2013 in southern Alberta. They went into great detail discussing the time and organizational skills required to complete recovery work.

Emily Turgeon-Brunet, Lead Conservator, presenting at the CAC conference. Photo Credit: Yesan Ham

Emily Turgeon-Brunet, Lead Conservator, presenting at the CAC conference. Photo Credit: Yesan Ham

In addition to this presentation about Museum of the Highwood, Gail Niinimaa and Irene Karsten presented a paper called, ‘Salvage and Recovery at Museum of the Highwood Artifacts after Major Flooding’. The presenters discussed their experience salvaging material immediately after the flooding, with a particular focus on the museum’s textile collection. It was wonderful to hear these presentations about an ASA institutional member, especially considering ASA has been working exclusively on the Museum of the Highwood’s archival material. It was interesting to learn more about their recovery work with the museum’s artefacts.

The Lead Team presented the final paper of the session entitled, ‘Worst Case Scenario: Preparing Alberta’s Archives for Future Disasters’. This presentation summarized the ASA’s Flood Advisory Programme – our work so far and our plans for the future. We used specific examples for our members that were negatively affected by the flood and how our program has assisted in their recovery work.

The Lead Team learnt a great deal throughout the conference and especially during the Disaster Management Session. We would like to thank the Canadian Association for Conservation for inviting us to present at the conference. It was a wonderful experience!

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