The following tasks will help you craft a simple, detailed, and flexible response plan:
Task 1: Identify potential safe rooms and/or outside shelters. Task 2: Develop the collections response team. Task 3: Set guidelines for moving objects. Task 4: Detail recovery procedures.
Task 5: Create lists of staff and resource contact information.
Task 6: Create fact sheets and maps.
Task 7: Stock emergency supplies and equipment.
Task 8: Establish routines to keep the plan viable.
Task 9: Identify and implement appropriate training.
In preparing your report, you and your team will have to address a number of important issues. Some will be general to all the team reports; others will be issues specific to collections. The questions on page 155 will help you address some issues and may prompt you to identify others.
Who will be in charge of keeping your part of the plan current? (People change jobs, telephone numbers change, new equipment is purchased and old equipment is discarded, companies go out of business, and agency responsibilities change.)
• To whom does your team report during an emergency?
Identify potential safe rooms and/or outside shelters
In some emergencies, safe rooms and/or outside shelters will be necessary to house staff members, visitors, and objects. Consult with the safety and security and the buildings and maintenance teams to determine the best locations for these safe rooms and to coordinate their preparation. You may want to have storage options outside the institution as well. For example, you may want to freeze water-damaged books and papers and store them in the appropriate facility, such as a local icehouse or meat locker. After a major fire in 1988 at the Soviet Academy of Science Library in Leningrad, millions of books were safely dried by citizens using home refrigerators and returned without loss.
The following recommendations for an effective safe area have been been adapted from Steal This Handbook!8 with input from advisers to this book:
Size. Ensure that the shelter is large enough to fit the maximum number of staff and visitors likely to be at the institution at any one time. Allow 5-6 square feet (0.47-0.56 square meters) per adult and 3 square feet (0.28 square meters) per child. It also should be large enough to accommodate emergency supplies and priority objects.
Accessibility. Take into account the route necessary to reach the shelter and the size of the openings through which objects must pass.
Security. The shelter must offer the highest level of security. This means a minimum number of openings so the shelter can be sealed and access controlled completely.
Physical safety. The shelter should be isolated from the exterior by adjacent rooms or corridors. Walls and ceilings should be free of plumbing, pipes, and so forth.
Environmental stability. Make sure the shelter is environmentally stable. Add materials such as carpets and curtains to buffer the relative humidity, and have humidifiers or dehumidifiers on hand.
Lighting. Make sure adequate lighting is provided. There should be no windows or skylights if the institution is in a seismic area or subject to tornadoes, to avoid the danger of broken glass.
Coordinate efforts with the safety and security team on questions such as
• Who has authorized access to the safe rooms? (Color-coded badges could visually indicate authorization.)
• How will the museum maintain security for the safe rooms or outside storage/shelters?
This is one of the most critical tasks in all of emergency preparedness and response planning. It is the crux of the plan: Who does what? It is not a case of assigning an individual name to a function, but rather determining which functions are necessary and then incorporating those into job descriptions. A number of alternates in a line of succession should be designated to fill each role should the primary appointee be unavailable. This flexibility is crucial, since no one knows when an emergency will strike or who will be in the building at the time.
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Remember to prepare for everyone in the home. When you are putting together a plan to prepare in the case of an emergency, it is very important to remember to plan for not only yourself and your children, but also for your family pets and any guests who could potentially be with you at the time of the emergency.