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IT IS 9:00AM. Do You know What and Where your Vital Records Are amd How to Preserve Them?

 

It’s 9:00 am. Do you know what and where your Vital records are?

 

 

 

by Phyllis Barr

President

Corporate Culture Marketing by Barr Consulting Services

New York, NY

212-765-6968

ladyhistory@earthlink.net 

 

 

 

TIPS ON CONTINGENCY PLANNING 

To

Insure

Protection – against

Surprises   

= TIPS about how to avoid and deal with:                       

 

Fires     Floods   Thefts    Vandalism   Infestation and Earthquakes

 

********************************************************************************************

 

Once upon a time, a graphic artists working out of her home office had a leaky pipe and then a flood. The artwork for her clients was on the floor.

 

End of artwork!

 

It is not only large companies that need Contingency Plan. Small ones do too, including home offices.

 

It is impossible to prevent all disasters, but it is possible to minimize the risk of a disaster or the damage from one. Having a contingency plan and testing the plan regularly can make the difference, in the event of a manmade or natural disaster, between a timely recovery and a long and difficult one. It can also affect the cost of recovery and even prevent a disaster of small or large proportions.

 

The guidelines noted below are primarily for hard copy records, but they have a bearing on other areas as well such as:

 

Ø      computer systems,

Ø      telecommunications,

Ø      buildings/facilities,

Ø      public relations,

Ø      AND people, their safety and reactions to a disaster

are all areas that are customarily dealt with in a report  such as this.

 

A disaster does not have to be large to cause problems. It can range from a leak to a flood; pest infestation; a small localized fire to a large one; an isolated theft or vandalism to a more widespread one; telecommunications glitches to crashes; and electrical malefactions that are isolated or widespread.

 

What can you do?

 

 

The initial steps are simple and cost nothing.

 

Most are very obvious, but in my experience these “rules” are rarely put into place unless someone points them out.

 

  On a daily basis:

 

  1. Sniff the work area to see if there is

      any unusual smell such as mold or mildew.

 

  2. Look around their work area, including up at the

      ceiling and under air-conditioning vents for signs

      of water damage or leaks.

 

  3. Regularly check for bugs. Put combats around the office,

      particularly where people eat and where records are

      kept. Also check for other pests.

 

  4. Put important papers in desks at the end of a day.

      This is particularly important for any records which are

      not kept on server such as records received from    

      another company, organization, foundation or

      government agency.

 

      5.  Combats should be put in any area in

      which in which food is eaten and prepared.

 

     6. Lock desks and cabinets. Buy some steel boxes in which to keep CD

        and hard copy vital records that can be grabbed and taken out quickly.

 

    8. Records, etc. should not be put near radiators or under

        pipes.

 

 

 

AND:

 

    9. CONDUCT A RISK ASSESSMENT

 

AND:

 

 10.  It is necessary to determine what records are VITAL to reestablish business as usual in a very timely manner.

 

 Vital records in the “language”    

 contingency planners are those which are needed in the

 ordinary course of business.

 

Vital Records” can also refer to documents that the

 government mandates be kept for a certain amount of

 time.

 

“Vital Records” can also refer to records which document the history of the company/organization which may be needed in the future for seeing if there is a precedent for something or when a program was

started, etc., or for  an anniversary celebration or for writing a book, or for an audio/visuals.

 

Note: There are records created BEFORE the current technological advances which are not on-line in any format.

 

This task can be dealt with quicker if a list of vital records, etc. received is kept in a log with contact information. This should be kept on the designated computer,  server and on a disk and there should be a hard copy as well. One hard copy could be kept in safety deposit box with CDs or in someone’s home.

 

In a home office, a good place to keep papers of value in in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator and in a book bag which keeps moisture out or in a steel box.

 

 

 

11. CREATE A CONTINGENY PLAN.

 

AND:

 

v      TEST, TEST AND TEST AGAIN

 

v      TRAIN STAFF AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR

 

v      GIVE A COPY OF PLAN TO NEW EMPLOYEES

                ARRANGE FOR THEM TO GET A RUN

                THROUGH

 

What should the Contingency Plan include?

 

A.      Information about the offices and building(s): location of

water and steam pipes, for example.

 

B.      A list of people to contact in case of an emergency:

i.e., the equivalent of fire marshals.

 

This should include information on how to contact

people over a weekend or holiday. There should

be back-ups for people when they go on vacation, on a business trip or are ill.

 

Certain designated staff members should e-mail themselves a copy of the list and have a hard copy at home as well.

 

C.      A list of emergency numbers which marshals should keep  

at home as well:

 

·         Management

·         Fire and Police numbers

·         Insurance companies

A list of specialists in the areas of freeze-drying; conservation and preservation and restoration; telecommunications; security; pests; and temporary off-site storage places in case the archives needs to be moved out while problems

           from a leak or flood or fire, etc. are dealt with

 

 

D.      The following supplies should be kept in offices:

 

·         Plastic sheeting

·         Buckets

·         Mops

·         Plastic coated boxes for wet records

·         Cotton and plastic gloves

·         A camera to take photos of what happened

·         Water alert devices can be bought which

sound an alarm when there is a leak

 

And:

 

·         Anti-bacterial wipes and Purell or some such product.

         

 

 

In sum, people need to know what they have, know what they need to have, do what they can to prevent a disaster, AND prepare for one if one occurs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

                                                                                                    

 



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