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About Alliance for Response

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.

Protecting Cultural Heritage

A decade ago, the idea of cultural institutions working in partnership with emergency management agencies was a novel one. Thanks to Alliance for Response, the significance of the relationship is more widely recognized. Alliance for Response brings together cultural heritage and emergency management professionals at forums at the local level, where virtually all disaster response begins, and helps the two communities engage in a continuing dialogue. The initial meeting leads to new partnerships and a variety of initiatives to enhance the protection of collections.

Alliance for Response has been effective on many levels:

  • 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.

The impact of Alliance for Response has been felt nationwide. The program has been recognized as an effective way to build cooperation among cultural institutions, strengthen preparedness efforts, and create ties to local emergency management officials.