By Nancy E Kraft
Originally printed in The Gristmill, A Publication of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, March 2019, p. 45.
With the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association Fall meeting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the fact that I assisted in responding to the flood of 2008, I thought it would be interesting to highlight the personal gear I use to respond to disasters to libraries and museums. The gear can be divided into three categories: personal protective equipment, response tools, and recovery tools.
When I became a preservation librarian in 1993, I had training and information on how to respond to a disaster to collections in a library or museum. My training included a list of needed supplies such as sponges and mops and stressed personal safety but did not include a list of response tools, conservation tools, or personal protective equipment.
Over the years, my understanding of the type of protective gear needed in response grew and continues to be refined. My protective gear has evolved from a pair of rubber boots in the office to a “go bag” which includes a wind-up flashlight (in case there is no electricity), hard hat, goggles, Tyvek suit, rain boots, two types of respiratory masks, nitrile & workman gloves. I always add water, a wide brimmed hat, sun screen, and energy bars.