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Emergency Preparedness in the Arts: A Team Approach

My name is Sean Ferguson, Emergency Preparedness Consultant for Performing Arts Readiness in New England, and in the free emergency .
Assembling Your Team Disasters can impact every area of your arts organization – from your performance space to your art gallery and your website – so it’s important to make sure your team comes from every area of your organization.
Facilities personnel can guide discussions about breaker boxes, water shut off valves and known maintenance issues that could increase the likelihood of a leak, flood, or fire;IT professionals or technology coordinators Instructors can identify ways to make sure class attendees are safe in situations ranging from an evacuation or an injury or illness;Marketing staff can identify the fastest channels through which to alert attendees about performances and programming during and after an emergency;Executive directors can add legitimacy to your planning efforts and provide the authority needed to release emergency funds and file insurance claims when responding to and recovering from a crisis; and Front of house staff can speak to security during performances, back-up methods of issuing tickets, and planning and assisting with evacuations during performances.The list goes on and can include anyone interested in the safety of your building, staff, and patrons as well as those who know the history of disasters in your building.Live fire extinguisher training, photo by Becky GellerLooking Outside Your OrganizationA critical step for your team will be to reach out to allies in your community.
For example, call the fire department for a building walk through and training in the use of a fire extinguisher, have discussions with your police department about security against dangerous individuals, and check in with your town’s emergency management department who Other arts organizations can provide valuable assistance and possibly serve as a backup venue if your building becomes unavailable Making A Plan Together With your team assembled and with assistance from first responders, your team will be ready to make a plan. For most organizations, this means having team members record and collate the knowledge they each specialize in, such as the ways to shut off the water, alert your attendees of a closure, leave your building safely, and recover lost data.Writing down this information into a single plan before a disaster will save you time when your team needs to respond quickly to a crisis.Photo by Tim Gurczak Want Help Building Your Team or Writing Your Plan?As the Emergency Preparedness Consultant for Performing Arts Readiness in New England until July 2019, I offer free consultations and workshops designed to help facilitate preparedness discussions and build disaster plans with you and your team.If you have a question or would like me to visit your organization, give me a call (978-470-1010) or . I’m always happy to talk.Performing Arts Readiness Performing Arts Readiness is a project funded through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to offer low- and no-cost assistance to performing arts organizations preparing for emergencies.

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