On Thursday, May 9, 2019, we held our Emergency Response Roundtable Discussion in the Pennsylvania Room of the Huntingdon County Library. It was a great opportunity to bring together our regional emergency response coordinators with staff representing a wide variety of cultural institutions to get to know one another and talk about our needs and concerns. We had a very productive discussion about working together, preferably before the “2 a.m. handshake” (aka, in the middle of an emergency) and came out energized about future planning opportunities.
The meeting notes are attached here, but one of the main points that we covered is the need to reach out to smaller organizations around the region, to encourage them to be more involved in the Alliance for Response, and to share their emergency contact information with their local Emergency Management Agency, so that they can be put into the CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system.
Often in the event of an emergency, if a staff member isn’t the person who called for help, our first responders don’t know who to call within an organization. This situation can slow down response and result in confusion and more significant loss for a cultural heritage institution. Another thing to note about this emergency contact information is that it’s important to confirm and update it regularly so that our emergency responders are calling the correct people the first time (rather than potentially calling an inactive number or one belonging to someone who retired five years previously).
We’re planning to set a follow up meeting for some time in mid-late summer, at which point we can look at strategies for engaging those regional organizations that aren’t currently active with our Alliance for Response group. If you or your organization are not on our email list, you can fill out the form under Contact to request to be added. Meetings, events, and other opportunities are sent out via this list, so it is the easiest way to be kept up to date on the Alliance for Response.