Hold the Weather Jokes – Things are Getting Serious

From record snowfalls in Buffalo, New York, to unseasonable lows in other regions to strange shifts in weather from bitterly cold to pleasantly warm – everyone is feeling it. A report out of the World Bank Group reveals that these weather occurrences will very likely become the new normal. This is a result of global warming. In the report titled Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal, the World Bank Group explains the real tangible impacts of global warming. Read more here.

National Continuity Programs Webinar Now Available              

FEMA’s “Continuity Tools and Support” webinar is now available to be viewed here. Presented by Eric Kretz, Continuity of Operations Division Director, the webinar covers current and upcoming initiatives in the continuity community. A brief overview of continuity planning is followed by discussion of resources and publications created by the division.

For more information on continuity planning, view Heritage Preservation’s webinar on Continuity Planning here. Presenter Kiran Dhanji, Preparedness Section Administrator in the Texas Division of Emergency Management, focuses on the development of continuity plans specific to cultural institutions.

Asian Art Museum Proactively Addresses Earthquake Concerns  

In preparation for a three-month exhibit, “Roads of Arabia,” which would prominently feature 8-foot-tall Arabian sandstone colossi, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco sought new ways to protect the statues. While the museum itself is equipped with a number of features, including base isolators, to prevent earthquakes from damaging the collections, the scale of the colossi presented a challenge to traditional means of reducing risks. By using a system of thin, sliding plates concealed within the display podium, the museum hopes that in the event of an earthquake the colossi would be able to safely move, independent of the building structure, and remain upright. The system was designed by EQX Global and museum staff will be working with researchers from UC San Diego to measure any potential seismic activity and its effect on the colossi. Not only could the steps taken by the museum preserve these two artifacts, but if proven successful, the technology could be applied to other large collection items to protect them from earthquakes.

To read more about the exhibit and the Asian Art Museum’s disaster preparedness steps, click here. To read more about earthquake preparedness, see previous SHEP posts here.

Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for Private, Nonprofit Organizations Webinar Approaching

There is still one week to register to attend the Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for Private, Nonprofit Organizations webinar, presented by Heritage Preservation and Mark Randle, Small Business Administration Public Information Officer. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, December 3, from 3:00 – 4:30 EST. For more information, see our previous post about this series of webinars, or register here.

Climate Change Toolkit Offers Insight into Potential Hazards

Climate change is resulting in unpredictable and severe weather. In addition to increased risk of wildfires and drought, sea level rise will affect millions. The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides information on how to prepare for and mitigate the potential hazards of climate change. The toolkit includes planning assistance, case studies, and links to training opportunities. The Climate Explorer tool shows areas of climate change impact and stresses, along with a discussion of how different regions might be impacted. Just as we look to the historical record to evaluate the hazards that may affect our institutions and organizations, the Climate Resilience Toolkit gives us an opportunity to discover future hazards. Embrace a “climate-smart approach” and make sure you’re prepared for the challenges that climate change may bring to your community. For an overview of the contents of the Toolkit, a one-page flyer is available here to share, or view the Toolkit online here.

Bill in House to Protect Cultural Property  

Legislation to protect cultural property worldwide and curb ISIL funding by prohibiting import of Syrian antiquities was introduced into the House by Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) on November 13, 2014. The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 5703) would take steps to coordinate efforts across governments to preserve cultural artifacts where they may be threatened by conflict, instability, or natural disaster. The full text of the bill, which notes the role of the Smithsonian Institution, can be found here.

Mitigation and Mitigation Planning  

Mitigation is a subject often overlooked until a disaster comes to pass. Yesterday, Scott Baldwin, Mitigation Specialist with the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, presented a terrific webinar on the subject. Some of the topics Scott covered included the importance of establishing a relationship with your local emergency manager and planning committee, hazard identification and risk assessment, and funding that might be available in the event of a major disaster. For private nonprofits (PNPs), funding is available through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP); other funding programs include Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA). Flood mitigation is notably in the news today: FEMA awarded a hazard mitigation grant to the village of Glenview, Illinois, to acquire and demolish flood prone structures.

If you missed the webinar, it is available online in its entirety here, along with many resources to help you get cultural resources incorporated into local mitigation plans.

This webinar is the second in a series produced with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For more information on future webinars, see “Disaster and Continuity Planning and Preparedness” and “Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for Private, Nonprofit Organizations.”