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Climate change: Increased natural disasters and the affects on preservation

A recent article in the New York Times “Floods, Fires and Humidity: How Climate Change Affects Book Preservation” discusses the affects of climate change on book preservation with the overall increase in natural disasters. Between flood, fires, and humidity, the possibilities for damage are constantly growing. Below, our subject matter expert, Matt DeCirce, discusses his point of view on how climate change affects he’s seeing and what Polygon is doing to help our clients prepare for the unexpected.

Read the New York Times article here

Q: As weather events have become more common as a result of climate change, has there been an increase in recovery jobs from natural disasters over the last few years?

A: Yes, natural disasters and climate change are impacting communities across the country. In the past few years, Polygon has supported customers from the Northeast to the Southwest. Customers in low lying coastal regions and those inland at higher elevations have experienced damage due to natural disaster and climate change. No matter where you are located, it is best to have an emergency preparedness plan in place for your archives and records.

Q: Has the severity of the damage increased in that same time frame?

A: I think so, Hurricane Michael in 2018 was the first category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the US since 1992. I think the severity is a concern, but the frequency has also intensified. the number of annual Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic has doubled since 2000. Recently, we supported customers in 5 states for damage that was caused by Hurricane Ida. The storm traveled from Louisiana to the Northeast, catching many off-guard, rain fall levels exceeded the 100-year flood predictions, and even customers with active preparedness plans could not avoid damage. Sometimes there is only so much you can do, and when preparedness plans transition to recovery solutions, that is where we can help with the process in its entirety. 

Q: According to the article, "A 2018 study published in the Climate Risk Management journal assessed 1,232 archival repositories in the United States and found that nearly 99 percent were likely to be affected by at least one climate risk factor.” What is Polygon doing to help safeguard clients and protect their collections?

A: Polygon provides preparedness plans free of charge. A Polygon employee will work with you to provide a risk assessment and review best practices available to safeguard your materials. In addition, we provide proactive solutions using remote climate monitoring and leak detection to watch over valuable materials. Our leak detection and indoor enviromental monitoring is able to provide live updates and alerts that gives our customers the ability to react quickly and stop leaks or turn on equipment. In an emergency, time is critical to keeping damage to a minimum. Our live monitoring and equipment control can offer time savings when it matters most. 

Take the next step...

By signing up for Polygon’s free Code Blue emergency preparedness program, a Polygon employee will work with your site to develop a disaster recovery plan and identify the best recovery method for all materials before disaster strikes. Additionally, Code Blue grants you priority service which during a large-scale disaster, can make the difference between recovery and total loss.

Click here to learn more and contact us for a code blue application.


Connect with Matt DeCirce
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Key Points

  • Climate emergencies are increasing every year causing increased concerns for the document preservation industry.
  • Climate change is increasing the frequency of weather-related risks and damage to precious collections. 
  • Polygon is able to monitor and control equipment remotely to mitigate damage and risk before documents are damaged. 

Want to learn more about disaster planning or remote monitoring? We can help.

Contact us

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