Emergency Response and Salvage Planning in Cultural Venues

Sunday, 27th June 2021

The maintenance of effective disaster/salvage plans is important for the protection of cultural heritage globally. The need to continually review and refresh plans is well established, but often forgotten or not given the priority is should have. This can lead to greater loss and damage.

Emergency Response  and Salvage Planning in Cultural Venues

As museums and galleries reopen from COVID many changes have occurred including, new operating practices, loss of staff, new members of staff, reduced levels of support available from emergency services. All of which can increase, or certainly change the risk profile that exists within venues.

In many cases I have found that it is difficult for museums and galleries to keep these plans up to date in normal times (time restrictions, competing priorities, etc.) now that reopening has started it is one of the last thing that people want to consider; but should it be? 

Disaster and Salvage planning should be a vital consideration for of all cultural venues, all of the time. During lockdown there has been a great opportunity to review and update the plans, however many venues have not been able to open to the public for about 18 months, resulting in loss of revenue and staff being placed on furlough, or made redundant. 

Now that all businesses are looking to reopen many are finding that the pool of people who once could be relied upon are no longer there and have found new roles away from the cultural sector; resulting in a skills shortage.

It is the responsibility of the SMT (Senior Management Team) to ensure that whoever is appointed to manage disaster and salvage plans undertakes a thorough review and if necessary update to ensure that the content remains fit for purpose, staff lists are correct, expectations are clearly defined, and where necessary tasks and responsibilities reallocated.

Once the plans have been reviewed and/or updated it is vital that briefings, education, and training is provided for all key personnel to familiarise/update themselves with their tasks and those of other team members. In doing so the robustness of the plans will be tested and everybody refamiliarised with their individual and collective responsibilities. 

Through our Cultural Protection Services, Trident Manor can help venues ensure that their emergency, crisis, and salvage plans are up to date and fit for purpose. We have decades of experience in developing and delivering tabletop, and full exercise scenarios that incorporate part teams, whole teams,  and external third parties (including emergency services) to validate the content of all emergency plans. This training and exercising has taken place around the world and based on wide ranging scenarios from fire, to protesters, and even acts of terrorism.

 If you are unsure about the content of your disaster plans and salvage response can you risk leaving things to chance? Remember crisis's don't wait in line and can happen at any time, are you prepared? 

For further information about our professional services in support of protecting your assets or cultural venue please feel free to contact the Valentina Sabucco the Cultural Protection Lead.