Every cultural repository needs two management
structures: the day-to-day, business-as-usual hierarchy, and a “supercharged” management structure that takes
over temporarily during a crisis or whenever looming events threaten to overwhelm normal business routines. Emergency responders
have used just such a supercharged structure for years: the Incident Command System (ICS).
Since its development in the early 1970s the ICS
has been used to tackle a vast array of incidents, including fires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. The system has demonstrated
that it can scale up to handle disasters that mushroom over large areas and even multiple states. But the ICS was designed
to scale down as well as up. Few practitioners
have addressed the question of how to use the ICS to manage an emergency within a single institution—until now.
Implementing the Incident Command
System at the Institutional Level explains how libraries, archives, and museums
can adopt the ICS as a temporary management structure whenever ‘business as usual’ won’t get the job done.
Whether you are preparing for fires and floods—or planning a major public event—the Incident Command System is
a proven management tool that safeguards lives, property, and priceless collections. Learn how to put it to use in your repository!
The Incident Command System is of particular
interest to libraries, archives, and museums because any disaster—even the smallest—can have disproportionate
consequences for cultural institutions. By their very nature libraries, archives, and museums care for collections that are
valuable and often irreplaceable. Whether these are threatened by massive storms or a single broken water pipe the consequences
can be the same: irreparable loss or damage to books, records, artifacts, and other materials that play a significant role
in the life of a community. Libraries, archives, and museums hold their collections in trust for the communities they serve,
whether those collections tell the story of the society’s shared history, protect the legal and civil rights of residents,
represent the shared educational resources of the community, or serve other communal functions. When such collections suffer
damage the entire community suffers real harm.