Emergency Preparedness for Archives, Museums, Libraries and other Cultural Repositories
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 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!
How will you react if an emergency interrupts your normal workday? How will you protect the life and safety of staff and visitors during a violent storm or an act of violence? Can you safeguard your unique collections from flood or fire or theft? Having a disaster response plan is essential, but considering how you will apply that plan during a crisis is equally important. Tabletop exercises are simple, effective tools that any group can use to explore their assumptions about emergencies, predict their response, identify gaps in their thinking, assess their capabilities, and determine how to optimize their response in an actual emergency. If you have never participated in a tabletop exercise you may be surprised at how effective they are at exposing misguided assumptions, planning gaps, equipment deficiencies, and conflicting priorities. Cultural organizations should conduct tabletops regularly with repository leadership and staff as well as with outside partners and responders. This easy-to-use tool combines longer exercises with ’express scenarios’ that can be conducted in just a few minutes. Together they provide you with everything you need to explore how your repository will respond to storms, thefts, cyberattacks, civil unrest, and other disruptions that threaten your repository, its staff and visitors. Tabletop exercises are simple but priceless tools...so pull a seat up to the table and get prepared!