Preparedness and Response
Cultural heritage institutions, performance and arts organizations, libraries, archives, and museums are icons of the community. They serve as gathering places, information centers and provide anchors and a sense of place as a community recovers from a disaster. Preparing for possible risks and knowing how to respond can often mitigate the impact of disasters, whether it’s a burst pipe or a major disaster. Follow these links for information on how to prepare in case of a disaster, and what to do once a disaster has occurred.
Where to Start
Understand the basics of emergency planning. All arts organizations and cultural heritage non-profits can benefit from taking basic steps to mitigate risk.
The Northeast Document Conservation Center has a very good overview for how to prepare for a disaster. There are several steps you can take that help you mitigate risk and rebound from a disaster faster even if you don’t have time or staff to create a full fledged disaster plan.
For performing arts organizations, learn more about how to prepare with these useful free webinars provided by the Performing Arts Readiness project. Topics include risk assessments, communication during a crisis, managing legacy assets, and cybersecurity.
Arts organizations may benefit from this resource list provided by ArtsReady.org
Do a risk assessment. See the checklist here to determine your risks.
Create a disaster plan. There are several approaches to writing a disaster plan depending on your type of cultural organizations. However, the basics remain the same.
See the link below for non-profits, such as arts or performing arts organizations:
See the link below for a guide for museums to follow:
See the link below for samples of historical societies and university libraries disaster plans:
Create a business continuity plan:
Prepare in advance documents needed for a disaster loan assistance. Small businesses (such as theater organizations, small museums, community art centers) can apply for low interest, long term disaster loans. Scroll down to Required Documentation to see the important documents you will need to complete your application:
Register for Re-entry
After a mandatory evacuation, business owners can return to the city before the public to ensure services are running. Cultural Arts organizations and businesses are considered Tier 3 for re-entry, so would be able to return to the city prior to the public. Scroll down to the blue button to sign-up for an re-entry placard:
Response and Recovery
Disaster Loan Assistance. Small businesses can apply for low interest, long term disaster loans to businesses and non-profits: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
The Northeast Document Conservation Center is available 24/7 for telephone advice related to disasters that affect your materials. Call the number below to reach one of their support staff.
COLLECTIONS EMERGENCY HOTLINE: 1-855-245-8303
Visit this link for further information, including links to agencies that can assist with large or complex disasters such as fire, water leaks, or mold outbreaks:
The National Heritage Responders are a group of experienced conservators available 24/7 for immediate over-the-phone assistance. They can also be brought on-site for consultations at institutions. Call their hotline at 1-202-661-8068 or, if your need is less urgent, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salvage and Recovery
See advice from FEMA about salvage and recovery from Fire and Flood, with instructions in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese:
Grants for disaster recovery
More information to come.
Webinars and Educational Resources
Performing Arts Readiness Project has several useful webinars for preparing for disasters and mitigating risk. Click here to access them.
See the Primer on Disaster Preparedness, Management & Response for guides on how to salvage paper-based material damaged during a disaster.
Take free courses in Emergency Management. Courses include introductions to the Incident Command System (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the National Response Framework. You can also learn about basics in emergency management, planning and leadership.