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Emergency Preparedness and Planning

The Alliance has compiled this set of emergency preparedness and planning resources from amongst its own offerings as well as those throughout the nonprofit and museum sector.

Alliance Resources

Mastering Your Museum’s Core Documents Toolkit

This toolkit offers guidance on the needed resources to successfully revise or draft your museum’s core documents. With it comes a combination of tools, guidelines, and action plans to help you understand the importance of—and required elements for—each of the five documents required for Core Documents Verification.

Sample Documents

The Alliance provides Tier 3 museum members with sample disaster preparedness and recovery plans from other museums.

Other Resources

Are You Ready? Guide

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a step-by-step approach to disaster preparedness. The guide covers getting 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 include evacuation, emergency public shelters, animals in disaster and information specific to people with access and functional needs.

Building an Emergency Plan

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.


The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners share 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.

Emergency Planning

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

Emergency Preparedness and Response

As section of the Centers for Disease Control website is dedicated to resources on disaster preparedness and planning with information on various types of disasters and how to mitigate problems.

Handbook on Emergency Procedures

The International Council of Museums shares an extensive publication on planning for and executing an emergency response. The document covers risk analysis and what to do in various disasters, (PDF, 50 pages)

Risk Evaluation and Planning Program (Repp) 

The AIC/FAIC helps cultural institutions demonstrate whether a risk evaluation by a team of preservation and emergency professionals, which leads to preparedness.

Natural Hazards

The 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.

Pocket Response Plan (PReP)

The 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.

Ready Check

The Department of Homeland Security has a set of free publications available for individuals and businesses to help assess and plan for any number of emergencies, including templates for various plans.

Worksheet for Outlining a Disaster Plan

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) offers a template that guides museum through 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.

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