Scarborough Librarian Nancy Crowell was the guest speaker Tuesday.  She talked about the library's need for more space, and gave an interesting talk on being prepared for an emergency.
With Hurricane Florence in the news, Nancy's topic was timely, indeed. In addition to her full time position with the library, she is a volunteer with Southern Maine Community Organizations Active in Disaster (SMCOAD), and a number of other disaster response and readiness groups. SMCOAD is a network of agencies and individuals, businesses, and others working together to minimize the effects of an emergency on the community by supporting local and county Emergency Management Agencies and first responders.
A number of agencies work to raise readiness, and Nancy talked about their efforts. She gave Rotarians a pop quiz!
She also talked about what should be placed in a "Grab-n-Go" pack. Her own has emergency meals that can be prepared without a cooking appliance, water, clothes, flashlight, and a Vital Records grab bag. Records she suggested put in it would be copies of birth certificate, family photo with pets, medicare/health insurance cards, social security card, drivers license or state issued photo ID, utility bill, and insurance policy numbers. She handed out waterproof bags that can fit 8 1/2" x 11" paper, and a mini flash light/whistle keychain.
Remember to plan for pets, too. Scarborough's emergency shelter is at the high school and would be ready to take them. A shelter is not a four star resort, she explained, and a better plan is to have someone in a non affected area to go stay with. Think about it beforehand, and make sure your family knows where to meet if members are separated.
CodeRED is another tool she advocates. It is a high-speed mass notification system use by Public Safety Agencies of Cumberland County. It's free to sign up. Messages may be used for severe weather, criminal activity, road closures, fires, missing persons and evacuations. "If you're told to evacuate, pay attention", she warned. Officials have gotten much more judicious about ordering evacuations as they have learned how disruptive and dangerous the evacuation itself can be. They may order evacuations now for just your street, or your neighbors, or in extreme cases for an entire community.
Scarborough does a lot to be prepared, and every department has a written plan. Officials even know how many seats on school busses would be available for an evacuation.
Nancy also talked about the library. Although the number of physical books loaned is down, consistent with a national trend, the number of people served is rising. The library is in its third year of a strategic plan and hopes that an expansion of the facility will be on the 2020 ballot.