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You should have a policy on how you will protect your collections in emergencies. This could either be a standalone document or part of a wider collections management policy. Either way, in deciding your policy you will most likely need to consider these questions:
- Who is responsible for emergency planning within your museum?
- What agreements do you have to co-operate with other museums in emergency situations?
- How do you assess risk and what level of risk do you consider tolerable?
- What are your priorities for mitigating the risks you have identified?
- What risks will you insure against (or seek indemnity cover for)?
- Who has access to the full emergency plan (particularly if it includes confidential information such as lists of the most valuable objects in your collection)?
- Who will be trained to put the emergency plan into action?
- What is the chain of command in an emergency (including if key people are not around)?
- How will you test the effectiveness of the emergency plan and keep it up to date?
You should also have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow to reduce risks, and how to react to emergencies. Spectrum’s suggested procedure is a useful starting point, but however you do it, your own procedure should meet the following minimum requirements:
|Minimum requirement||Why this is important|
|You assess the risks facing your collections and information systems, and review these regularly in line with your policy.||Your governing body can make informed decisions about safeguarding your objects and data.|
|You have multiple copies of a written emergency plan that will help you respond effectively to all foreseeable emergencies (with at least one copy safely off-site).||You have clear steps to follow so you will not forget something important in a real emergency.
You do not lose your only copy of the plan in an emergency.
|You always have access to up-to-date contact details for the people and organisations named in your emergency plan.||You do not waste time tracking down the people you need urgently.|
|You have prioritised the objects you would save first in an emergency, and recorded this information in a way that can guide any rescue that may be possible.||You are able to move objects to safety in a planned way that reflects their value to you.|
|All your staff and volunteers know, and have practised, what they should do in all of the situations covered by your emergency plan.||Whoever is first on the scene can react quickly, efficiently and safely.
You are not relying on someone who happens to be on holiday when disaster strikes.