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Emergency Preparedness

It makes a difference. It really does. Having a written plan, doing staff training prior to an event, thinking about all the possibilities and how you would respond. If you have done this preparation, when the unthinkable happens, you are better able to react and respond quickly and appropriately. This saves lives and collections. Because, in a disaster, people don’t think clearly, having all the steps clearly written down, makes it much less stressful. All you do is follow the script. Which is much better than standing in the middle of a flooded storage room, flapping your hands and moaning incoherently. (Yes, one curator was doing that when a conservation reponse team arrived 24 hours after the disaster.) Conservators should not be in charge of the disaster recovery at a museum site. That is the responsibility of the museum’s staff. Conservators have specialized knowledge that should be used effectively. But they are not good with registration and object tracking, which are essential post disaster skills.  Make sure you understand your responsibilities and the roles each specialist plays. All this is clarified when you write a disaster plan.

Courses we recommend:

MS002: Collection Protection – Are you Prepared? On-line Short Course



MS205/6: Disaster Plan Research and Writing Online Course

Books and products we recommend:

The A.R.K.: A Recovery KitThe A.R.K.: A Recovery Kit. Based on emergency personnel’s incident command system, the A.R.K. is used by museums throughout Minnesota. Created to assist disaster recovery, the A.R.K. leads staff through the first 24 hours of a musem disaster. Applicable to any disaster, the kit provides six laminated position description cards with fill-in resource lists on each, five collection recovery posters, name tags, permanent marker and recovery priority cards. Packaged in a waterproof envelope. The kit should be kept in one to three staff members’ cars, so it is immediately accessible.

The A.R.K.: A Recovery Kit $75.00 [Learn More]   

Emergency Salvage WheelEmergency Response and Salvage Wheel helps staff prepare for a disaster and recover after one strikes. It is a nice compliment to the A.R.K. (above), fitting in its plastic sleeve.

Emergency Response
and Salvage Wheel
$12.95 [Learn More]    
La Rueda de Salvamento y
Respuesta ante Emergencias
(avail. June 2002)
$12.95 [Learn More]     [View Cart]

Steal This HandbookSteal This Handbook is a comprehensive book covering emergency preparedness and response for every conceivable type and scale of disaster on historic and non-historic materials. Written by the Southeastern Registrars Committee of the American Association of Museums, we purchase it before it is bound and have it punched to fit in a three ring binder. Adding dividers, it becomes an instant addition to an institutional emergency response plan. Response professionals can add useful articles to the enormous amount of recovery information already provided in the book.

Steal This Handbook $25.00 [Learn More]   

Before Disaster StrikesBefore Disaster Strikes: Prevention, Planning, and Recovery – Caring for Your Personal Collections in the Event of Disaster by Priscilla O-Reilly Lawrence. A pamphlet designed by the Historic New Orleans Collection for homeowners and collectors to help them prevent damage in the event of a disaster. Includes resource lists and illustrations.

  Before Disaster Strikes $7.00 [Learn More]    


Super Wipe SpongeThe Super Wipe Sponge These extraordinary synthetic PVA sponges have an open-celled structure that is most like natural sea sponge. It absorbs more than natural sponges and won’t tear. The unique, uniform cell structure acts as a holding chamber for liquid. Chamois-type sponges can pick up liquids 5 to 10 times faster than other natural or synthetic products. PVA sponges are not affected by gasoline, oils, most solvents, acids, inks and most household chemicals. Sponge comes damp in a plastic bag in a hard plastic storage tube.

Super Wipe Sponge 17 inch x 13 inch $12.00 [Learn More]    
Super Wipe Sponge 27 inch x 17 inch $14.00 [Learn More]    

Fire Prevention Programs for MuseumsCCI Tech Bulletin #18 Fire Prevention Programs for Museums by Paul Baril
Will help museums develop and implement effective fire prevention programs. The basic elements of fire prevention programs are discussed, as well as the administration of the program. Numerous examples are provided to help museum staffs prepare documents and procedures.

Fire Prevention Programs for Museums $18.00 [Learn More]


Security Hardware and Security System Planning for MuseumsCCI Tech Bulletin #19 Security Hardware and Security System Planning for Museums by Wayne Kelly
Helps cultural institutions with their preparations against threats of theft and vandalism. Numerous, inexpensive methods of improving security and various types of currently available sensors and computerized alarm systems are illustrated and described. Several kinds of sensors and their placement within a standardized level of protection proposed for each area in a cultural facility are also recommended.

Security Hardware & Security System Planning $18.00 [Learn More]

Collections Caretaker Vol 2 No 1
Vol.2 No.1
Fire Recovery

  $5.00 [Learn More]   

Links to related information on other sites:

How Libraries Can Prepare for Natural Disasters and Preserve Community History

Terms – Glossary of Disaster Terms

Florida Division of Emergency Management

Pioneer Emergency Preparedness Links

Disaster planning literature

Emergency Preparedness and Response (Library of Congress links)

What is an Emergency? What is a Disaster?

solinet Disaster Mitigation & Recovery Resources

solinet Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Internet Resources

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery: Selected Bibliography leafletpgname=leaflets_templ.cfm?doc_id=118

Disaster Recovery Services & Supplies leafletpgname=leaflets_templ.cfm?doc_id=119

Contents of a Disaster Plan leafletpgname=leaflets_templ.cfm?doc_id=116

Disaster Planning Process leafletpgname=leaflets_templ.cfm?doc_id=117

Disaster Prevention & Protection Checklist (PDF)

Emergency Services Checklist leafletpgname=leaflets_templ.cfm?doc_id=121

In-House Supply Stockpile Checklist (PDF)