Emergency Preparedness and Response

Before Disaster Strikes

To prepare your library for emergency situations, take the following actions:.

  • Write or update a disaster plan that includes response for collections
  • Make sure all staff know the first steps to take when an emergency arises
  • Compile an up-to-date telephone list for staff, including home and cell numbers
  • Be prepared to handle the most likely threats, based on the past history of the building and location
  • Train staff in-house or by having them attend a disaster preparedness workshop

Resources – Emergency Preparedness

Pocket Response Plan for Collections This one-page template is adaptable to any size institution with heritage collections, providing ready access to important phone numbers and immediate response steps.

Disaster Plan Appendices Workshop Appendices are used to supplement the Pocket Response Plan.

Staff Emergency Procedures These procedures can be used as a framework for staff guidelines to augment an emergency plan for collections.

Disaster Plan Template The Library Disaster Plan template is to be used in conjunction with the Disaster Planning and Preparedness Guidelines to prepare institutional emergency plans that include collections priorities and disaster response procedures.  This is an older workshop template and it is recommended that the previous template and appendices be used instead.

Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance  A searchable database of disaster supplies, recovery experts, services, and other resources. Since knowing who to call for help and where to obtain services and supplies are essential components of disaster planning, this database is a particularly important one. It is searchable by both Northern and Southern California.

California Preservation Networks Libraries are forming cooperative emergency networks though out the State. The California Preservation & Disaster Networks is a list of established networks; if your area does not already have a preservation network and you would like to help start one, contact info@CalPreservation.org.

ALA Library Disaster Preparedness & Response

National Network of Libraries of Medicine – Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery

National Park Service Emergency Preparedness for Museum Collections videos

Public Libraries and First Responders: Partners in Emergency Response   A short YouTube video on the ways public libraries can work with emergency services in their community

From Facilities to Trauma: Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency at Your Library   Includes recording, slides, chat, learner guide, and related links.

Performing Arts Readiness

Resources – Training

Protecting Your Collections: Writing a Disaster Response Plan. Heritage Preservation webinar series. The webinar page includes all the documents (pdfs) for each webinar, a link to each archived session, and a base set of template documents that can be downloaded and edited.

The Resource Lists used in conjunction with the California Preservation Program workshops:
Protecting Cultural Collections
 Are You Ready?

“Protecting Library and Archive Collections” Videotaped workshop Taped version of WESTPAS 2009 Richmond, California 2 day workshop available for viewing and downloading. Includes handouts and related documents.

Disaster Plan Exercise This can be used to test an already existing disaster plan and train staff on the handling of an emergency.

“Academic Aftershock” CSU Northridge and earthquake impact, Los Angeles, Monday, January 17, 1994 California OES Campus Disaster Preparedness Video. Can be used in an exercise to set the stage for an earthquake response.

Resources – Response & Recovery

Salvaging Library Materials  Links to documents, websites and videos showing actions to take to salvage collections.

Field Guide to Emergency Response – Salvage videos

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC)
In a disaster response and salvage, the AIC National Heritage Responders can provide the names of experts in the conservation of paintings, paper, books, photographs, textiles, decorative arts, sculpture, and wooden artifacts as well as architectural, archaeological, natural science, and ethnographic materials.

Guidance to help with collections evacuation, working with recovery companies, drying wet collections, mold, long term recovery, and more.
Salvaging CDs and DVDs – National Archives