The time and effort spent on mitigation and preparedness could be the difference between an emergency and a disaster. Assessing risks to your collections can provide you with the information you need to effectively minimize those hazards.
If your institution is affected by a disaster (natural or man-made), the most efficient and effective road to recovery is to follow a plan that outlines how your organization will respond. By investing time in advance to develop a disaster plan, you will have already identified a series of steps that may help reduce the overall impact of an event on your collection, as well as its effect on business operations.
One of the first steps in preparing your disaster plan should be to join AFR. Doing so will allow us to better advise you when a disaster hits your collection, gallery, or studio.
After writing a plan, you will have answered many of the questions that come up immediately after a disaster: How do you identify how much of the collection is affected? Who is coordinating the response effort? Who is available to provide assistance if staff is unable? How do you set priorities if resources are limited?
It is important to remember that the creation of an emergency plan is not a one-time process – plans should be updated regularly, and staff training should be provided so that relevant staff is aware of their roles in the event of a emergency. Resources for response and recovery can also be reviewed during these trainings. Copies of the disaster plan should be kept off-site, so that they remain accessible during an event.
The following pages are disaster planning and preparedness tools that you can access online, download and/or purchase that will help you gather the necessary information and guide you in creating a disaster plan specific to your institution and/or collection. In addition, as attachments to your formal disaster plan, portions of many articles and manuals can provide a fast reference for detailed information about materials, technologies, experts, ideas, and suggestions during an emergency.