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University of Windsor
Many diasters are unavoidable, however certain measures can be adopted to avoid or minimize damage. Through an analysis of the current situation of the Archives and the library, preventive procedures can be developed. These policies are vital, due to the risks associated with the geographical location of the Archives, which are situated in the basement of the Leddy Library and close to the Detroit River.
- Examine the institution's internal and external environment.
- Assess the geographical risks of the area.
- Determine if the Detroit River floods seasonally.
- Ensure river authorities contact the Archives and library in the event of flooding or rising water levels.
- Ensure temperature and humidity do not fluctuate.
- Identify which materials are most sensitive to climate conditions.
3. Fire Prevention and Security
- Implement daily inspection procedures.
- Close all fire doors.
- Secure all windows .
- Ensure that heating and water systems are not leaking .
- Turn off equipment .
- Verify the structural integrity of the building.
- Assess the condition of the roof.
- Ensure the building is well insulated.
- Determine when the building was last inspected.
- Ensure the utility services, heating ,ventilation, and air conditioning systems are regularly inspected and maintained.
- Determine if the building has an effective dampcourse (a barrier against rising moisture from the ground).
- Confirm that repairs and maintenance are up-to-date.
- Secure the building against the entry of rodents and small animals.
- Obtain the advice of local fire and police Departments regarding safety and security issues
- Ensure the Archives and Library have proper fire and water protection equipment, including water sensors, smoke and fire detectors, a fire suppression system and fire extinguishers.
- Connect the ventilation system to the smoke detection system so it will automatically turn off in the event of a fire.
- Guarantee that the equipment is regularly inspected, tested and maintained.
- Train all staff in the proper use of the equipment .
- Safeguard the Archives and library against all potentially hazardous chemicals and substances.
- Determine if any flammable materials are stored in the building.
- Confirm that these materials are stored, used and disposed of in accordance with appropriate safety standards.
- Limit the number of key holders to the Archives and library.
To protect materials against water damage, shelving should be installed at least 12'' away from outside walls, 2'' away from inside walls, and bottom shelves should be raised at least 4'' off the floor. To protect materials against water damage, shelving should be installed at least 12'' away from outside walls, 2'' away from inside walls, and bottom shelves should be raised at least 4'' off the floor. 1)
- Ensure that records are not located near any water and sewage pipes running through the storage area.
- Never store records on the floor.
- Store the most valuable material on upper shelves.
- Identify and store nitrate film apart from the rest of the collection and have it copied at the earliest opportunity, since it is highly combustible.
- Ensure that carpet is not installed in the storage area. It will retain water and prevent drainage, as well as interfere with temperature and humidity stabalization in the event of a disaster.
- Keep passages and drains in storage areas unobstructed.
- All documents should be stored in acid-free boxes to protect them from external elements.
- Institute computer back-up procedures and off-site storage policies.
- Shelve materials according to fire control standards.
- Ensure that materials are setback slightly from the edge to prevent the verticle spread of fire from one shelf to another.
- No materials should be stored on top of shelving units.
- There should not be less than a 2 ft. space between shelving units and the ceiling.
- A 4'' flue space should be left between the end of each compact shelving unit and the documents, in order to facilitate fire detection.
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