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Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity

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This page features information related to emergency preparedness and business continuity planning.


Emergency Preparedness        

ArtsReady offers free regionally focused email alerts, an online library of emergency preparedness resources, and links to current recovery aid.

CERF+ Studio Protector Online Guide is a free resource for artists with a printable wall guide listing essential emergency information, as well as a thorough online guide for: safeguarding, disasaster planning, disaster warning, disaster relief, clean-up, salvage, e-salvage, and rebounding.

FEMA  A part of FEMA,  has general disaster planning information accessible from the main page of its website and a section devoted to business emergency planning. 

Small Business Administration offers preparedness resources for small businesses, including A Disaster Planning Guide for Small Business Owners


1. Inventory 
Creating and maintaining an inventory is an easy way to access information about the work you possess, in the event that you need to account for them to file an insurance claim or apply for various forms of disaster relief aid.

Use a plain spreadsheet (e.g. Excel, Numbers, Google Spreadsheet) to keep a detailed list of your art. Important information to include are physical descriptions of each work (i.e. dimension, materials, year made, condition) and images (preferably high resolution).

Your inventory list should be regularly updated and stored onsite in a binder or on your computer (and backed-up on an external hard drive). Additionally, it is important to have a copy of this information stored virtually, in the event that the hard copy is lost or damaged in the actual disaster or inaccessible for another reason.

2. Copies of Receipts for Works Sold
Unless your work has been appraised, receipts from past sales may be the only way to prove the value of your work, in the event that you seek compensation for damages cause by a disaster.

Like your inventory document, your receipts should be available as a hard and virtual copy. You can maintain a binder of receipts as well as scan or photograph them and save them in your email or another online document storage program. 

3. Insurance
Business insurance is often misunderstood among artists and for good reason. For some, the idea of insuring their artwork, studio and materials may seem financially out of reach. While others have invested in renter’s and homeowner’s insurance, incorrectly believing that their work is covered under their policies.

If you have an insurance policy, it is important to speak with an agent to make sure the policy covers the artwork you create. If not, consult art service organizations such as Fractured Atlas or resources such as Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+)’s Studio Protector to learn more about options that protect your work as well as policies that compensate you for damage done to your studio and materials.

You can also consult the Business of Art Article Business Insurance for Individual Artistsabout the ins and outs of finding the proper insurance coverage for your practice. 

4. Storing Your Work
In the event of a disaster, it is important to try to prevent damage to your work by thinking critically about where it is housed. Depending on what type of natural disaster or disturbance you may be anticipating, consider placing works in secure locations that are less likely to be exposed to the effects of a disaster. It is advisable to steer clear of basements that may flood, attics that can leak, or windows that can break. 

5. Know Your Resources

American Institute Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Collection Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) 
AIC-CERT responds to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors and the public.

  • Call AIC’s 24-hour assistance number at 202-661-8068 for advice by phone.

  • They can also be reached via email - [email protected]

Heritage Emergency National Task Force’ Salvage Your Collections
Library of Congress: What To Do If Collections Get Wet
Minnesota Historical Society
MoMA’s Conservation Resources
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training Disaster Preparedness 
National Document Conservation Center. Hotline: 855-245-8303
National Park Service Museum Management Program Leaflets on Conservation and Salvage

Image: Lucas Blalock (Fellow in Photography '19)

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