Contributions to the 7th AICCM Book, Paper and Photographic Materials Symposium 29g31 August 2012 Brisbane, Australia
January 2011, and the State Library of Queensland’s clients and staff evacuated its buildings after days of torrential rain had been falling in the regional catchments of south-east Queensland, resulting in the Brisbane River water level rising swiftly and dangerously.I have coordinated twenty-two disaster responses in libraries and archives, but this was the first occasion where the water incursion was coming from an architectural and aesthetic building design asset, the Brisbane River.This paper endeavours to share the experiences of Preservation Management as to what can be unforeseens in a riverine flood response. It includes what happens when disaster team members’ homes are directly in harm’s way and when there is a days-long loss of power – the power that normally drives IT systems and mechanical services. It gives learnings and insight into the implications of being a ‘tenant’ agency in a major cultural centre facility, the benefits of having access to the original building development managing contractor and building plans, and changes that have since been made to disaster plans for sustaining disaster response teams in a protracted recovery. Finally, it informs on the resulting improvements in an area where there were many difficulties: the communication to staff and clients.
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