Resources like ours help individuals and institutions preserve and protect their collections. Advance your skills with program materials, professional development, and funding opportunities.

Engage Your Network with Education, Training, and Activities

Alliance for Response communities around the country are sustaining cooperative networks by providing training opportunities, mutual assistance, and a role for cultural institutions in disaster planning at local and state levels. What follows are workshop ideas, projects, and resources developed by emergency networks around the country. Visit the individual AFR networks online to see what they’ve been doing. And help us compile a comprehensive collection of Tool Kit resources by sharing your network’s activities and products.


Incident Command System

Watch an archived Connecting to Collections webinar on the Incident Command System

Learn the basics of the Incident Command System. Free training is available online from FEMA.

FEMA ICS-100: Introduction to the Incident Command System

FEMA ICS-200: ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents

FEMA ICS-700: National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction

Risk Evaluation

Evaluate your own institution and make sure your disaster plan is current. In the process of updating your plan, take a look at your resources (equipment, supplies, space, staff, etc.) and think about how you might be able to share those with your larger community in a disaster.

Using the REPP tools, SHER worked with local emergency managers to develop a number of different spreadsheets on Critical Facilities (Historic & Cultural): sorted by police department and precinct/sector, sorted by fire district, and sorted by city re-entry group zones (following a hurricane).

COSTEP MA presented workshops around the Commonwealth. (PDF)

Watch the archived Connecting to Collections webinars on risk evaluation and host a meeting to discuss important points


Host a disaster plan writing clinic.

Design online educational resources about protecting cultural heritage.

Hold a fire safety program on performance-based planning and museum, library, and historic house fire codes.

Sponsor “table-top” training exercises adapted for museums and libraries.

Sponsor disaster training sessions for cultural heritage institutions that include a practice drill.

Watch the archived Connecting to Collections webinars on emergency preparedness and response and host a meeting to discuss important points.

Hold a workshop on insurance and appraisal for cultural institutions

An after-action review (AAR) is an analysis of what happened, why it happened, and what was learned, with the goal of improving future performance. When possible, read about lessons learned following a disaster to glean valuable information.

Become familiar with the process of applying for federal disaster assistance following a major disaster.


Develop a regional disaster supply cache. See also Mutual Aid Agreements.

Develop a disaster plan exchange program with members of another network as back-up repositories in case of disaster.

Develop a buddy network outside of your region to provide support and assistance when a major disaster strikes.

Develop a cultural SWAT team composed of emergency response and preservation experts to aid institutions in the event of major disasters.

Create a master database of cultural institutions in the area to improve communications during “peacetime” but especially following a disaster.

Create a master database of potential support (personnel, logistics) that cultural institutions can provide following a disaster.

Adapt CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training for cultural institutions and historic sites.

Explore the emergency preparedness resources available from the Small Business Administration (SBA)

Help your organization develop an effective social media and disaster communication strategy.