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Disaster Planning

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.
Image. Staff assessing damaged records
  • 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.  

State Archives Services and Funding

The Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) grant program offers the opportunity for New York State local governments to compete for funding in multiple categories, including disaster management. Funds are available to develop, test, and implement disaster and business recovery plans and systems to protect local government archival and vital records. Contact your Records Advisory Officer (RAO) for more information.

Additional Resources

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.

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 from Heritage Preservation provides step-by-step instructions for handling an emergency, forming a disaster response team, and stabilizing your collections.

Polygon 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 emphasizes 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.

The Capital Region Alliance for Response (CapNYAFR)

A four part webinar series produced by the CapNYAFR will assist you with developing a disaster plan for your records.