Why is it important to carry out frequent emergency drills?
Published on 29 April 2024
Why is it important to carry out frequent emergency drills?
Pubblicato il 29 April 2024

To create awareness of the best procedures for saving works of art, books and documents affected by an emergency, an extremely effective tool is represented by practical exercises.

Putting rescue operations into practice allows us to fully understand their effectiveness and to understand the importance of planning more immediately. For this reason, every cultural organization that intends to improve its ability to react to and manage a possible emergency that may affect cultural heritage should carry out this type of exercise on an annual basis.

Below we will describe the benefits that organizing frequent exercises can bring to a museum in terms of emergency management.

Definition of procedures

Organizing frequent exercises allows an institution to clearly and precisely establish the procedures to be activated depending on the different scenarios. In fact, for each type of event, such as fire, flood, or earthquake, the tasks and responsibilities of each must be indicated in detail. Furthermore, putting established procedures into practice, even if only in an exercise, allows you to memorize them better and therefore put them into practice more easily in the event of a real emergency.

To be effective, the established procedures must be shared within the entire response team and with the national intervention teams, such as the Civil Protection and Fire Brigade.

Reaction times

During an exercise, it is always a good idea to time all procedures. This activity will allow museum operators to have a precise idea of the reaction times to a specific scenario and to precisely define the times necessary to protect, secure and evacuate the affected material.

Furthermore, calculating response times allows you to identify all those procedures that are too time-consuming and would require an excessive use of resources.


The exercises are an excellent opportunity for museums, archives and libraries to stimulate the creation of a virtuous support network. For this reason, it is always advisable to invite local institutions, intervention teams, stakeholders and, why not, visitors to your simulations.

Furthermore, carrying out frequent exercises allows you to learn how to get help in case of emergency: it is very important, in fact, to know who to contact and learn to communicate the type and extent of the disaster so that the intervention teams can be of support in an effective way.

Stimulate teamwork

Simulations are an excellent opportunity to stimulate cohesion between colleagues. Knowing that you are able, by collaborating, to react effectively to an emergency makes a solid work team. If everyone knows their tasks and responsibilities and there is no overlapping of tasks, everyone is more inclined to get involved and collaborate with others.

Practising emergency procedures also helps you avoid panic as much as possible. In the event of a disaster, in fact, it is very easy to panic and act instinctively: these emotions do not allow us to work in a clear and logical manner. Repeating our tasks often, allows us to create almost an automatism that will make us act more efficiently in the event of real danger.

Manage the unexpected

Unforeseen events are always very frequent during emergency situations, and the exercises allow the identification of vulnerabilities that were not foreseen during the risk analysis phase. Furthermore, it is very difficult to predict with exact precision the type of scenario that could happen on a specific collection. In general, therefore, knowing how to apply the principles of effective emergency management allows you to learn to manage even scenarios not foreseen in the simulation phase.

After the end of an emergency, it is always advisable to sit together around a table to comment on the results obtained during the exercise. The simulations are also a fundamental phase for an institution that wants to undertake a risk management process for cultural heritage because they allow the Security and Emergency Plan to be corrected and made in line with real needs.

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