Guidelines on Safety and Emergency Plan (7): Simulation with the National Fire and Rescue Service
9 January 2024

What is a Safety and Emergency Plan and what is it for?

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Once the Safety and Emergency Plan is drafted, its effectiveness has to be tested in the field

This type of operational simulation involves the implementation of all the emergency procedures identified in the design phase, including the evacuation of the artworks and the involvement of the National Fire and Rescue Service.

During the simulation phase, it is always advisable to use mock-up objects that can simulate the dimensions, material, and weight of the real artworks, without moving the collection in order to avoid any possible damage during transport.

Since this is a thorough operational simulation, it is necessary to provide to all the staff members involved in the practice the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to carry out the emergency procedures. Typical emergency PPE are: masks, tyvek suits, aprons, nitrile gloves, protective goggles, high visibility vests, helmets, safety shoes, or boots.

The PPEs must be inserted inside the Emergency Kits (at least two) placed in strategic areas of the building. The emergency kits must also contain all the materials necessary for the packaging and handling the artworks, as well as all the devices and materials useful for cleaning the affected areas. It will then be necessary to identify the emergency scenario that you intend to put in place for the exercise: it is good to think about an everyday situation, simulating also the usual positions of the employees inside the museum. In this way, the test will be as close as possible to the reality of the building.

In this step, communication and collaboration with local authorities and the National Fire and Rescue Service teams are essential: it is advisable to organize the event in detail, informing the emergency teams well in advance. It is also good to notify the museum’s stakeholders, involving all the interested parties. An emergency simulation, in addition to being a critical disaster response planning and control activity, is also an opportunity for sharing and raising awareness of the community on the issues of risk to which cultural heritage is subjected. Furthermore, a good communication strategy in times of crisis allows the museum to maintain engagement with its public and involve the in the subsequent operations to restore the normal conditions. For this reason, testing one’s communication skills in an emergency phase can be crucial during the simulation.

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This text has been extracted from the “Guide for drafting a risk analysis and a Safety and Emergency Plan” created by Mazzini Lab. You can receive the complete guide by filling out the form below.

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