Norman M. Cary, Jr.
On almost any broad topic relevant to the missions and functions performed by the members of HNSA, there is a plethora of good information on the Internet. This essay is one of a series of short articles on various topics of interest to HNSA members based on this readily available resource. In each article, I will do a short expository essay briefly describing the topic under discussion, list some relevant sites, and provide some information on what is available on each site. This will hopefully give the reader a place to begin his or her search for enlightenment on a particular topic. Given the vast amount of information available on most of these topics on the web, these essays, of necessity, provide just a sample of what is available and are not comprehensive surveys of the resources out there. If you have any favorite web sites on any of these topics that are not included in the relevant essay, I would like to know about them. Please contact me at Normtuba@aol.com with the citation and a summary of the nature and value of the site and I will evaluate your input for possible inclusion in future revisions.
Fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, terrorist attack, and other natural or man-made disaster can strike at any time, with or without warning. You have to be ready to deal with it, or be prepared to lose much, if not all, of the historical resources you are preserving and, if you deal with the disaster ineptly, the respect and support of your clientele and local community.
What do you do? You plan for the worst case scenario and you make sure that you ready to deal with it. To do otherwise is a fool's game. As of the writing of this essay (lst quarter, 2006), the impact of a major natural disaster (Katrina) and the consequences of poor preparation for this natural disaster is all around us.
This is a priority. Oh, sure, it is very time consuming, and you are always having to update the plan because of changes in your circumstances and changes in the local community. But when the emergency hits, it is too late. Bite the bullet. Do it now.
How do you plan? There is a lot of useful information about how to do this on the Web.
http://cool.conservation-us.org/ Stanford University's conservation site moved to AIC. It provides us a very thorough site on dealing with disasters.
http://www.lyrasis.org/ A document entitled "Disaster Preparedness and Recovery: Selected Bibliography".
http://www.chin.gc.ca/Applications_URL/icom/disaster_preparedness.html From the International Council of Museums comes this very thorough guide to disaster planning for museums.
http://www.heritagepreservation.org/programs/TFC.HTM From the Heritage Emergency National Task Force comes this fine site on resources to help you plan for and recover from natural disasters.
http://www.nps.gov/history/museum/publications/primer/primintro.html From our friends at the National Park Service comes all sorts of information on dealing with a variety of natural and man-made disasters.
http://www.museum-security.org/disasterbib.html This is a good bibliography on dealing with all sorts of disasters, from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
http://www.collectioncare.org/cci/cciep.html The Northeastern States Conservation Center provides a good listing of products and references to use in dealing with emergencies and disasters.
http://www.bl.uk/blpac/index.html The United Kingdom and Ireland Blue Shield (UKIRB) provides a focus for organizations and individuals responsible for the protection of cultural property.
http://www.getty.edu/conservation/our_projects/education/disaster/ From the Getty comes this article on disaster preparedness.
http://www.amigos.org/preservation/bibdis.html Amigos Library Services provides this bibliography on emergency response and recovery.
http://www.museum-security.org/disaster_management.html Here is some really good information on emergency preparedness from the Museum Security Network.
http://australianmuseum.net.au/research-and-collections The Australian Museum provides this site on disaster preparedness and response.
http://www.ready.gov/ Emergency planning, in general, from the Department of Homeland Security.
The above is, of course, only a small portion of the information available on volunteers on the web. Most of these sites were found using the Google search engine, http://www.google.com/advanced_search , advanced search, with the exact phrase: Emergency [or Disaster] planning [or response].