Disaster planning and risk assessment

Collection store room.
Collection store room.

Good planning can prevent an emergency from turning into a disaster and a disaster from turning into a tragedy" (J. E. Hunter, US Parks Service).

Disaster can be classified as an emergency which has gone out of control. The objectives of disaster planning are:

  • To anticipate and if possible to prevent disasters occurring.
  • To retain control when a disaster occurs.
  • To recover control as quickly as possible if it is lost.

In order to plan and provide the best form of protection for cultural collections, it is important to determine the most important agents which can cause damage. These agents include:

  • excessive water and moisture
  • fire
  • direct physical force
  • high levels of illumination and UV radiation
  • incorrect and fluctuating temperature and relative humidity
  • insects and other pests
  • air pollution
  • theft.

A risk assessment of the building structure is the first stage when preparing a disaster plan. GCCMC-Conservation Services can assist with a risk assessment of the building, in conjunction with the Buildings and Facilities manager, which can then inform a risk assessment of the collection. This will lead to the development of a preservation management strategy for the collections, which includes a disaster management plan.

Collection risk assessments and the development of conservation strategy plans for collections help custodians to manage their collections more effectively.

To discuss risk assessment and disaster management needs, please call us on;

Tel: (+61 3) 9348 5700.