Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

Disaster Planning Resources

Guide to Navigating Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions

The information presented in the Guide to Navigating Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions is meant as a general guide to seeking federal funding to aid in disaster response and recovery. The steps outlined here are based on current Federal policies, some of which are under review. The Heritage Preservation has tried to ensure the accuracy of the information provided. However, the Heritage Preservation assumes no liability for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in this publication.

Heritage Preservation's Lessons Applied: Katrina and Cultural Heritage

Lessons Applied: Katrina and Cultural Heritage In October 2006, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force launched a “Lessons Applied” initiative designed to help Task Force members develop and implement projects to address the major issues that Katrina and other major storms brought to light. The goal was to convert analysis to action. New tools are posted to aid libraries, archives, museums, historic sites, and historic preservation and arts organizations in disaster preparedness and recovery.

Library of Congress's Learning from Katrina: Conservators' First-Person Accounts of Response and Recovery; Suggestions for Best Practice

Library of Congress's Learning from Katrina: Conservators' First-Person Accounts of Response and Recovery; Suggestions for Best Practice After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana in 2005, several organized groups sent conservators to help assess the damage created at many cultural institutions. Several federal agencies sent employees to evaluate federal sites, and training programs sent staff and students to help where needed. The American Association for State and Local History arranged to send two mobile units to assess the conditions of the states’ collecting institutions. Staffed by museum professionals and conservation volunteers, the mobile units, under the auspices of the Heritage Emergency Assistance Recovery Teams (HEART) Assessment Program assessed as many cultural institutions as possible. The program, generously funded by the Watson-Brown Foundation of Thomson, Georgia, and the History Channel provided valuable on-site assistance and helped local staff to cope with beginning a recovery of their collections.

The Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance Website

The Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance Website provides disaster plans submitted by other libraries and archives as a model for developing your own plan. Resources are available in a database that can be searched geographically, by service, expert or supply. You can download your resullts into an Excel file to include in your own disaster plan. You are also invited to add resources to the database.

The site was started in 2006 and will continue to expand its offerings.


Ready.gov The U.S. Department of Homeland Security suggests we all take the steps necessary to become prepared. All the Ready America and Ready Business collateral materials, including brochures, Family Communication Plans and Business Emergency Plans are available for free at www.ready.gov.

  1. Letter from Kristin Gossel, Director of the Ready Campaign (PDF)
  2. 30 Emergency preparedness tips (PDF)

Flood Mitigation Assistance Program

Flood Mitigation Assistance Program "FMA was created as part of the National Flood Insurance Reform Act (NFIRA) of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 4101) with the goal of reducing or eliminating claims under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Funding for the program is provided through the National Flood Insurance Fund.

"FMA provides funding to assist States and communities in implementing measures to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to buildings, manufactured homes, and other structures insurable under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)."

This program provides funding for state allocations for Planning, Project and Technical Assistance grants, and for administrative costs to support the FMA program.

Red Cross Resources

dPlan: The Online Disaster-Planning Tool

What is dPlan?
dPlan: The Online Disaster-Planning Tool is a free Web-based fill-in-the-blank program for writing institutional disaster plans. It was created, tested, and refined by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training.

How does dPlanwork?
Log on to www.dplan.org and enter your institutions’ information into a template that guides you through the creation of a comprehensive disaster plan. Explore dPlan’s features in an introductory demo on the homepage.

dPlan’s easy-to-use program automatically supplies language for a final plan. The resulting printable, customized disaster plan contains checklists of all disaster procedures, salvage priorities, preventive maintenance schedules, current contact information for personnel, insurance and IT help, as well as a list of supply sources and emergency services.

Once completed, your password-protected plan is stored on a secure server so it can be updated on a regular basis. An automatic e-mail is sent every six months to remind you to update your plan.

Who needs dPlan?
According to the Heritage Health Index, produced by a partnership between Heritage Preservation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, 80% of collecting institutions do not have an emergency plan that includes collections with staff trained to carry out the plan.

dPlan is designed to help institutions of all sizes:

  • Small and medium-sized institutions that do not have in-house preservation staff
  • University libraries, museum campuses, or statewide library systems that need to develop separate but related plans for multiple buildings, locations, or branches
  • State agencies or professional associations that seek to structure training programs on disaster planning

Conservation OnLine's Disaster preparedness and response

Conservation OnLine's Disaster preparedness and response topics include:

  • Resources listed by organization/author
  • Disaster Plans
  • Case histories
  • Other documents
  • Other disaster/emergency resources
  • Bibliographic Resources

Collection Valuation

In 2001, the LC Federal Research Division made a report to FEMA on the North Dakota State University serials replacement cost estimate. The final report was prepared under an interagency agreement between the Library of Congress (FRS) and FEMA.

File of the report (PDF)

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Collection Preservation and Recovery

Preparing, Protecting, Preserving Family Treasures Sponsored by ALA Carnegie-Whitney Award and the Library of Congress Preservation Directorate. This website provides simple instructions, as well as links to more comprehensive information for preparing, protecting, preserving many types of family treasures. Using this information, you will have the means to prepare ahead of time, to protect everyday, and if need be to preserve your family treasures after a disaster.

Heritage Health Index "At the 2006 Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association in January, Heritage Preservation presented Heritage Health Index data on libraries not previously published. The Heritage Health Index found that libraries hold 63 percent—or about 3 billion—of the 4.8 billion collections items in the United States."

Graphs from the report are found on the Web page.

CALpreservation.org Emergency Preparedness & Response

  1. Generic Disaster Plan Workbook
    The Generic Disaster Plan Workbook is based on the IELDRN Generic Disaster plan and provides a framework to assist institutions in writing their own disaster plan
  2. Disaster Plan Template
    The Library Disaster Plan template is to be used in conjunction with the Disaster Planning and Preparedness Guidelines to prepare institutional emergency plans that include collections priorities and disaster response procedures.
  3. Disaster Resources
    Other sites to visit for sample disaster plans, case histories, supplies and suppliers, bibliographies and other disaster related documents.
  4. Disaster Plan Exercise
    This can be used to test an already existing disaster plan and train staff on the handling of an emergency.

Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts Emergency Resource Guide
The purpose of the Mid-Atlantic Resource Guide for Disaster Preparedness is to assist institutions in the preparation of their own Emergency Telephone List and in the selection of emergency supplies and equipment to have on-site. As part of every disaster preparedness and response plan, institutions should have an up-to-date Emergency Telephone List and should maintain a Stockpile of Supplies and Equipment to use in initial recovery efforts.

Mid-Atlantic Resource Guide for Disaster Preparedness (June 2005, PDF)
A a list of over 100 vendors and associations for reference. Knowing whom to call and having some supplies on-hand helps save time and allows staff to respond as quickly as possible in an emergency. The Guide is partially subsidized through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Other Resources


Other ALA pages

US Government


Beyond Words the Dollar General school library reief fund

Dollar General, in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the National Education Association (NEA), is sponsoring a school library disaster relief fund for public school libraries in the states served by Dollar General. The fund will provide grants to public schools whose school library program has been affected by a disaster. Grants are to replace or supplement books, media and/or library equipment in the school library setting.

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