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Disaster Preparedness

The New York State Archives is available to help you protect your records from disasters.  When a disaster is imminent, keep in mind the following regarding your records and collections:

  • Review your emergency response plan and take it home with you.
  • Keep contact information for key staff, services, and institutional and public officials with you at all times. Keep handy your insurance, financial, and inventory data.
  • Revisit your organization’s list of priority collections (vital records) and their locations.
  • Verify your facilities’ layouts, paying attention to evacuation routes and locations of stairs, exit doors, fire hoses, water and CO2 fire extinguishers, emergency lights, alarm pull boxes, sprinkler shut-off valves, and first-aid kits.
  • Hold a planning meeting with staff today!
  • Know what's coming your way. Track the weather
  • Back up your electronic records and store the backup in a safe place off site.
  • Move priority collections out of basements and off floors.
  • Check in now with service providers for generators, freezers, drying and freeze-drying services, and refrigerated trucking.
  • Gather plastic sheeting to cover collections, filing cabinets, and computer equipment stored in vulnerable locations.

Also, refer to these Archives’ publications:

Additional Resources

Disaster Planning and Response Workshops
The NYS Archives’ workshops provide information on how to judge your organization's risk of experiencing a disaster, reduce the chances that a disaster will destroy your records, prepare your organization for a disaster, and explain how to respond to a disaster safely and effectively. For information on where and when this workshop is being offered, refer to the Archives’ training page.

Weather Updates
The NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services provides weather updates including flood warnings, watches, and advisories.

Emergency and Disaster Plans
The NYS Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has developed a sample Comprehensive Emergency Management and Continuity of Operations Plan which provides a framework for state agencies to respond to an internal or external emergency. This plan briefly discusses planning and responding to records-related disasters. OEM has also developed a sample County Emergency Management Plan

Emergency Preparedness Training
Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records (IPER) developed records-related emergency preparedness training for state and local governments in the United States.

Rescuing Family Records: A Disaster Planning Guide
The Council of State Archivists’ practical manual describes how to protect important family records from disasters.

Disaster Planning Resource (dPlan)
See the Northeast Documentation Conservation Center’s dPlan for an online tool you can use to develop a disaster plan for your organization.

Field Guide to Emergency Response
This guide and its accompanying DVD from Heritage Preservation provide step-by-step instructions for handling an emergency, forming a disaster response team, and stabilizing your collections

Polycon Group
The Essential Guide to Flood Planning and Preparation describes the fundamentals of preparing and organizing your home in flooding emergencies such as creating a flood plan, an emergency kit and the clean-up process

The National Safety Council
 The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization that promotes safety training and education. Their Emergency Preparedness webpage emphasized tools and resources to use when confronted with natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and preparedness education. Their Get Help webpage provides information on disaster assistance and materials for emergency preparation.