Summit addresses data protection during disasters
Emergency management, information technology, archive and records management officials met for two days this week in Atlanta to discuss methods for protecting information in disasters. The summit was sponsored by the Iowa City, Iowa-based Council of State Archivists (CoSA) as the first part of its Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records (IPER) program, which CoSA created in response to lessons learned during Hurricane Katrina.
Katrina and Hurricane Rita were a wakeup call, said David Carmicheal, who was CoSA president at the time of the storms. “Emergency responders and governments had simply taken records for granted, and some of those proved to be essential to the response and recovery,” Carmicheal said in a statement. “Responders, for instance, needed maps and building plans and delegations of authority in order to respond appropriately to the disaster.”
More poignant to Carmicheal were the losses suffered by ordinary people. “For example, people along the Gulf Coast assumed that their deeds were safe because the courthouse had a copy and they had a copy at home. But then courthouses and homes were wiped out and people were left scrambling for proof of property ownership. The records became very important at that point.”
CoSA plans to expand the results of the summit into a nationwide series of training sessions. “Our goal is to reach thousands of state and local government officials in every state and territory and train them how to identify essential records and how to protect them from disasters,” said IPER Project Manager Julie Framingham in a statement.
More information on IPER is available at