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Disaster planning

Despite all your best efforts, there may come a time when there is an emergency that threatens the safety of your collections. For example, a pipe in the building breaks and the storage area becomes flooded, or pests manage to get into the storage area and destroy parts of the collection.

Thinking ahead will make sure everyone knows what to do and minimise damage.

Create a disaster plan which:

  • Is simple to access and use in an emergency
  • Sets out actions required
  • Details who is responsible for which tasks, along with their contact details
  • Lists which items are a priority to secure and make safe, and where they are kept

Writing a disaster plan

  • Assess the most likely risks and draw up a plan to help recovery after a disaster
  • Take any action you can to address the risks without waiting for a disaster
  • Know your storage area including switches, valves and stopcocks for your utilities
  • Include a list of keyholders - assess these by proximity
  • List the addresses and telephone numbers of people who can be contacted in an emergency - assess these by proximity.
  • Have a current location list to ensure you know what's in your archive and where
  • Identify priority collections or items to inform what to salvage first
  • Identify the space, equipment and materials needed to salvage, know where to get it or have certain things prepared on site
  • Identify where the archives could be relocated - another part of the building or a separate site
  • Remember to review and update your plan if anything changes
  • Store the plan in multiple locations

Disaster planning resources

The following sites have useful resources for creating disaster plans:

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