Emergency Planning Guide
The Emergency Planning Guide was a project of the Museum, Library and Cultural Property Facilities Group of Greater New York City (MLCPFG) almost since 9/11, after MaryAnn Marrocolo, Director of Recovery and Mitigation, NY City Office of Emergency Management, encouraged the group to develop a framework for emergency planning specific to NY City cultural institutions. The problem to be solved was that no one has time to write a disaster plan; something more urgent always intervenes. The idea of creating a fill-in-the-blanks template that would take relatively little time and effort was finally rejected in favor of writing what would be essentially a short course on how to do disaster planning. The principle was that there is no substitute for sitting down and figuring it all out as a group, for each unique institution. Since it is impossible to anticipate every possible situation, the exercise will have the benefit of making a staff imagine elements such as the kinds of actions needed, a logical chain of command, and communications systems, and staff members will therefore be better prepared and more in sync with one another.
A sub-committee of the MLCPFG did much of the conceptualization of the Guide, and David Ward of New York City Center and Harry Yarwood of the Brooklyn Public Library wrote the final draft.
The Guide includes a short section on how to plan, and a Workbook with a variety of materials intended to define logical steps in the process of developing a unique emergency plan. The section on the planning process makes the points that the charge for development of the plan must come from top organizational leadership, that every department must be involved and the expertise of individual staffers called upon, that the plan should include proactive preparedness as well as reactive responses, and also recovery and return to normal business operations, and that the plan must be reviewed at regular intervals.
The Guide places an emphasis on community cooperation, beyond the walls of a single institution, so discussions are included on Municipal Emergency management, and on Shared Resource Planning between institutions.
The Workbook section includes forms for compiling information and suggestions for developing specific policies for preparedness, response and recovery. There is also a set of Response Procedures for specific incidents, which could be reproduced and customized as a quick reference flip chart.
The Guide is a work in progress. A first draft has been informally published and printed by the New York Public Library, and is being circulated to MLCPFG members and other interested parties for review and comment. By Spring of 2005 a revision should be ready. The final method of publication is to be determined.
Questions and comments about this project may be directed to David Ward and Harry Yarwood. If you would like updates on the publication schedule, or if you would like to receive an electronic version of the most recent draft, please contact David Ward.