Preparation is Your Best Defense!

Disasters can strike at anytime, sometimes with little or no warning.  Experience has shown us that while natural disasters can leave a path of destruction there are also man-made disasters that can bring an area to its knees.  Being informed and preparing for those that could effect you are key to saving your site, building and collections.

The first thing to remember is human safety is always the highest priority. Never value a collection or building above that of a person. If there is ever a question of safety stop, turn around, and leave the area until it is secure.  For additional information please refer to our Health & Safety section.

Residential neighborhood in New Orleans one year after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. (photo NCPTT)

Creating a disaster plan before a disaster strikes can be of great assistance in mitigating damage and loss.  There are online tools such as dPlan that provide templates to help institutions develop a customized plan.  Disaster plans assist in identifying risks and create  procedures to follow if an event occurs. The best disaster plans in the world will not be of assistance if no one knows about it or it is not maintained and updated! Planning for your collections should be done at the same time as preparing a plan for your building or site.  Prevention and protection needs would be determined during the planning process and could save time and resources when a disaster strikes.  For additional information please refer to Collections section.

Emergency Response Action Steps, FEMA
1. DISASTER ALERT:If you have advance warning
2. SAFETY FIRST!
3. GETTING STARTED OFF SITE
4. STABILIZE THE BUILDING & ENVIRONMENT
5. DOCUMENTATION
6. RETRIEVEL & PROTECTION
7. DAMAGE ASSESMENT
8. SALVAGE PRIORITIES
9. HISTORIC BUILDINGS: General Tips

Preparing historic buildings and sites for a disaster should firstly focus on the disaster most likely to hit the area.  If it is located along the coast or a body of water, flooding could be the most likely disaster to strike.  In the western United States earthquakes are common and can occur with little warning.  However, most disasters can occur over in multiple regions. Just because earthquakes are common on the west coast doesn’t mean that one will not happen in Little Rock, Ark. If any substantionel changes are planned to prepare an historic building for a disaster please refer to the Secretary of Interiors Standards for the Treatment of Historic Structures and check with all local and state authorities before making any changes. For additional information please refer to our Building & Site section.

If you are preparing for a disaster or have been already been affected there are several places you can look at for funding opprotunity. Before and After Disasters: Federal Funding for Cultural Institutions and the Disaster Assistance website can be of assistance, as can as a variety of local, state and federal offices.


Originally published on Jun 30, 2011.

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5 Responses to Disaster Recovery Resources

  1. Andrew Mirabile says:

    I found this great site when searching the internet for information on emergency disaster preparedness. The company is called “1-800-PREPARE” and along with providing a ton of useful info, they also sell survival and emergency kits for individuals, homes, offices etc.

  2. saturday kitchen says:

    Preparing for disasters is a mind-set. I’ve been doing it for three years now as part of my role in my company. For me there are four main aspects to disaster planning.
    1. Thinking about what could go wrong and how likley is it to happen – no point in wasting time wondering how to cope with how you would deal with a flooding river if you live in a desert.
    2. What pre-emptive steps can you take. Installing fire-extinguishers might give you a chance of putting a fire out before it spread.
    3. What reactive plans can you put in place. How can you make sure everyone gets out safely if there is a fire.
    4. What are the vital parts of your business that you need to keep going if you are to stay in business (whatever that business might be)
    And finally
    5. Its all about people – people do the thinking, organise the plans, make sure plans work by testing them every so often. People work together in adversity. Invest in the people!
    I know I said four main aspects and I ended up with 5 – I should have planned ahead!

  3. Ready.gov can also assist individuals with preparing themselves, businesses and kids.

  4. Ellen and remodelers says:

    Perhaps disaster preparedness can be made more efficient by conducting constant drills in our schools and offices. Panic and anxiety attacks would be among the key “enemies” a person can have during one of these episodes. Drills and practices can eliminate these instances, since our bodies would be prepared to act accordingly by then.

  5. Landscapers Orange County says:

    “Disaster”, this word is very common nowadays. Why this happens? It because of technology, people are not taking care of our environment, the trees were replaced by big buildings, establishment, etc. I think what we can do for now is pray and make some changes, instead of building big establishment. We will plant trees.

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