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Emergency Preparedness and Planning

Developing a Disaster Preparedness/Emergency Response Plan

American Alliance of Museums

The Alliance shares a reference guide that provides a primer on disaster preparedness and helps museums understand the process of developing a disaster preparedness/emergency preparedness plan. It reflects national standards and is in line with the requirements of the Alliance’s Core Documents Verification and Accreditation programs.

Disaster Preparedness Activity

American Alliance of Museums

The Alliance shares an exercise that helps museums assess response readiness to emergency situations that affect collections. It also helps identify weak links in an existing disaster preparedness plan and assists museums in creating a disaster plan. The activity is one of many designed by the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) as part of the self-study process. It ranks highly with program participants and has been used in over 2,000 assessments.

Required Elements of a Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Plan

American Alliance of Museums

In this recorded webinar, examine the required elements of a disaster preparedness and emergency response plan based on national standards, and how this critical document intersects with all aspects of your institution, including collections, security, facilities, business operations, visitor services, and human resources. This program is a useful tool as you prepare for Core Documents Verification.

Sample Documents

American Alliance of Museums

AAM provides Tier 3 museum members with sample disaster preparedness and recovery plans.

Pocket Response Plan (PReP)

Council of State Archivists

Council of State Archivists is a national organization comprising the individuals who serve as directors of the principal archival agencies in each state and territorial government. Pocket Response Plan is a concise document for recording essential information needed by staff in case of a disaster. It is intended to be customized for each institution and individual staff member. It is printed on both sides of a legal-size sheet of paper, then trimmed and folded to credit card size and stored in an envelope that fits easily into a wallet.

Are You Ready? Guide

Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides Are You Ready?, a step-by-step approach to disaster preparedness by walking the reader through how to get informed about local emergency plans, how to identify hazards that affect their local area and how to develop and maintain an emergency communications plan and disaster supplies kit. Other topics covered include evacuation, emergency public shelters, animals in disaster and information specific to people with access and functional needs. Are You Ready? also provides in-depth information on specific hazards including what to do before, during and after each hazard type. The following hazards are covered: Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Thunderstorms and Lightning, Winter Storms and Extreme Cold, Extreme Heat, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslide and Debris Flows (Mudslide), Tsunamis, Fires, Wildfires, Hazardous Materials Incidents, Household Chemical Emergencies, Nuclear Power Plant and Terrorism (including Explosion, Biological, Chemical, Nuclear and Radiological hazards).

Building an Emergency Plan

Getty Conservation Institute

Getty Conservation Institute offers a guide to help museums in planning for emergencies or disasters. The publication has information about the different roles, responsibilities and training needed for staff in order to create and execute the plan and respond to emergencies and disaster. The guide also looks at creating the plan (with four supporting case studies) and offers useful samples in their appendixes including sample job descriptions, supply kits, procedures, and a table of contents from an emergency planning manual.

Emergency Planning

National Park Service

National Park Service shares a chapter from their Museum Handbook on emergency planning, disaster prevention, collections hazards and salvaging techniques.


Northeast Document Conservation Center

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners share dPlan, a free online program to help institutions write comprehensive disaster plans. dPlan provides easy-to-use templates that allow museums of all sizes to develop a customized plan with checklists; salvage priorities; preventive maintenance schedules; contact information for personnel, insurance, and IT help; and a list of emergency supplies and services.

Worksheet for Outlining a Disaster Plan

Northeast Document Conservation Center

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) offers Worksheet for Outlining a Disaster Plan: This template guides a museum in identifying equipment and services needed for disaster preparedness and recovery, setting salvage priorities, and scheduling drills. It also includes checklists of tasks that should be completed on a daily and weekly basis.

Elevation Design Guidelines

Mississippi Development Authority

The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) shares these Elevation Design Guidelines in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and historic preservation commissions representing historic preservation interests in Coastal Mississippi.

Natural Hazards

U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides information on natural hazards and their potential threats to society, and assists with developing smart, cost-effective strategies for achieving preparedness and resilience.

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