Creating a Disaster Plan

Creating and maintaining a disaster plan is critical for the successful recovery of cultural resources after a disaster, large or small. The plan should include at a minimum information on the institutional chain of command, who to contact regarding an event, salvage priorities, available supplies and services, and the steps toward recovery of collections and institutional services. 

Disaster plans can be small and simple or large and full of information, depending on the size and needs of your institution. If no plan exists, start with the minimum information and decide to build on the disaster plan every year until a full, comprehensive plan for your institution has been created.  Something, anything is better than nothing!

An important element of disaster planning is risk assessment. If you do not know what risks your building and collections face, you cannot adequately prepare and plan. By knowing your institution’s vulnerabilities to natural disasters, industrial and environmental threats, and your own facility’s drawbacks and flaws, you can mitigate and plan for just about anything that may present itself.

NEDCC’s dPlan™: The Online Disaster-Planning Tool is a free, easy-to-use template that will walk you through all of the information necessary to create a fully functional plan from risk assessment to recovery. Other templates are available in the Valuable Links section of this website.