Guidelines on Safety and Emergency Plans (5): Simulation of an emergency
18 October 2022

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

Discover it in our insights and download the guidelines to draft your Plan.

The purpose of an emergency simulation is to investigate the responsiveness of aninstitution to an emergency

Once the analysis of the risks is carried out, it is essential to focus on the operational dimension, investigating the institution’s ability to respond to an emergency. The best activity to revise this aspect is an emergency simulation,  working all together to speculate on the procedures to be implemented during an emergency.

First of all, it is necessary to identify the times during the week when the public is present inside the building. Then, it follows the definition of opening days, also analysing the standard procedures for organising events and exhibitions. The goal is to analyse all presences inside the spaces at different times and days to identify moments that can represent a vulnerability in the overall organisation of work.

The issues to be considered in the simulation phase are the following:

  • First of all, an emergency scenario should be established, based on one of the vulnerabilities found in the risk analysis phase. During the entire work process, it is advisable to always think about the worst case scenario (that is the worst emergency scenarios that could occur), even when it is highly unlikely. During this phase, it is advisable to be very specific and detailed, and meticulously describe the emergency situation.
  • For the purposes of a simulation, it is also essential to create a salvage priority list. During the simulation, in fact, we will focus on the procedures for saving the works included in this short list: the chain of telephone calls that will have to be implemented according to the scenario, the communication procedures with the emergency teams and with the authorities that will have to be designed, and the procedures for moving, packing and handling the priority artworks.

It is then necessary to define the emergency team, that is the team that will deal with all safety procedures in the event of an emergency. For each member of the emergency team, it will be necessary to define tasks and responsibilities, taking care not to create overlapping tasks or uncertainties. It would be good if the members of the team dedicated to the rescue of the works also received fire prevention training regarding the health and safety of people: in fact, in an emergency they would have already clear their duties for protecting people and could integrate them with activities dedicated to the collection. In any emergency situation, the safety of people is of primary importance, and must never be jeopardised in favour of the protection and safeguard of artworks.


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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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