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Alliance for Response

Our Alliance for Response (AFR) initiative brings cultural heritage and emergency management professionals together at the place where virtually all initial disaster response occurs-the local level.

Floods, hurricanes, fires, and other disasters can harm or destroy irreplaceable cultural and historical treasures. But the institutions that safeguard books, documents, photographs, artifacts, and other historical collections can prepare for emergencies to avert or at least minimize damage.

One of the keys to preparedness is a relationship with first responders and emergency managers. They are first on the scene at any event that threatens life or safety, and they represent a local system for planning, response, and recovery that has often overlooked a community’s cultural and historic assets.

Launched in 2003, the Alliance for Response initiative remains effective by:

  • encouraging institutions to complete disaster plans and train for emergencies;
  • creating cooperative disaster assistance networks among museums, libraries, archives, and historical properties and sites;
  • raising awareness of the importance of cultural heritage in communities;
  • influencing official emergency policies and plans.

Starting a Network

Looking to start an Alliance for Response network in your area? Consider hosting an Alliance for Response Forum, a one-day event designed to help key cultural heritage and emergency management professionals engage in a continuing dialogue, leading to new partnerships and local projects. Consult the Forum Planning Handbook to learn more.

The Alliance for Response Tool Kit provides additional resources for next and existing networks.

Existing Networks

The Alliance for Response Networks, formed in the regions where forums have been held, have now in their second decade reached several thousands of individuals from more than 1,000 museums, libraries, archives, and other collecting institutions in regions across the country.

Member Networks 

In 2021, FAIC initiated the Alliance for Response Member Network initiative in an effort to increase communication and coordination among networks. In order to be considered a member network, networks must inform FAIC of changes in leadership, be involved in discussions in the AFR member community, and fill out an annual survey to communicate activities completed and unmet needs. Member networks currently include: Atlanta, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Orleans, North Carolina, Northeast Ohio, Northwest Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Philadelphia, Portland, Sarasota Manatee, Savannah, Seattle, South Florida, Texas, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. If your local response network would like to become an AFR Member Network, contact us at emergencies@culturalheritage.org.

The National Endowment for the Humanities generously supports the Alliance for Response initiative.