Documenting the Emergency

“What was I thinking? Who did I call? When is the insurance man showing up to talk with the director?” These are all questions that can be quickly answered if an emergency is documented in a timely manner. Incident records will help staff learn from events, but more importantly they are needed for questions of liability and insurance. This is true no matter what the size of the problem. Click for tips on creating initial damage assessment records.

Incident Recordsare created by the Documentation Coordinator designated by the Collection Emergency Response Leader to record the chronological events of the emergency (for information on these response roles see the section on Salvage Organization.

Incident records will cover the following topics:

  • The Response and Salvage (chronological)
  • Damage to Building
  • Damage to Collections

The incident record can be done simply with notes on a yellow legal pad or forms specific to an institution’s needs can be developed.

As salvage operations get underway, records should be kept and photographs taken of the objects or collections involved, their present condition, and how they will be treated in the short term (see Salvage Documentation).