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What do I do if it happens? Reaction

Should an individual discover a potential disaster/emergency situation the alarm should be raised. The circumstances should be investigated and appropriate action taken, depending upon the circumstances. This may range from activating procedures contained within the written disaster/emergency plan to deal with the incident, to calling the emergency services and evacuating the building. Protecting collection items, salvaging damaged materials, and stabilising the environment are important but individual lives must not be put at risk.

The emergency services are concerned to save lives first. If the building has been evacuated nobody should re-enter it until the senior emergency officer has been given the all clear.

Preparation is crucial to efficient and effective reaction to and during a disaster/emergency situation.

Reacting to an incident will involve:

  • Raising the alarm and contacting emergency services
  • Raising the alarm and taking appropriate action based on the written plan
  • Stabilising the environment when safe to re-enter the building
  • Protecting undamaged materials
  • Salvaging damaged materials
  • Clear co-ordination and communication internally and externally
  • Managing all staff involved
  • Ensuring staff are working in a safe environment
  • Ensuring safety equipment is available and used at all times
  • Ensuring staff are well looked after during the incident
  • Managing external relationships including the media and public
  • Ensuring accurate records of decisions and actions taken during the incident