JAIC , Volume 39, Number 1, Article 13 (pp. to )
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC , Volume 39, Number 1, Article 13 (pp. to )


STEPHANIE WATKINS, & Chinese proverb


The FEMA training model can be easily utilized by museums, historic sites, and other cultural institutions for the training of personnel in preparedness and recovery methods and operations. Adaptation of an existing program saves management time when designing a program. Using an established training model from a profession versed in emergency response provides a standardized language and approach. The interaction that training can provide fosters communication among professionals to achieve common goals such as reducing damage and providing safe, fast recovery of endangered life and property.

Training can occur over several months or years. The time between lessons allows participants a chance to assimilate the exercise lessons. A reasonable time frame for completion of the exercise cycle is three to five years. However, the time frame will vary with the complexity of the plan and the sustainable commitment by the group or organization. Details of the plan can continue to be evaluated and training modified to meet overall goals. Plan, prepare, and practice; then proceed.

Establishing a training program does not eliminate the need to reduce threats to a collection. Individuals and institutions can continue to work on preventive and preparedness measures such as educating people, identifying and establishing community networks, identifying resources, improving storage facilities, creating backups and master microfilm security copies of records when appropriate, and maintaining good management of collections.

Contact the Missouri Local Records Preservation Program at (573) 751-9047 or Stephanie Watkins at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin at (512) 471-9117 with any additional questions regarding the adaptation of the FEMA model.


My sincerest thanks to those self-proclaimed “disaster junkies” at the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency for initial inspiration and training and to the conservation staff at the Missouri State Information Center for helping to develop the training program in Missouri.