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Emergency Preparedness

Readiness, Response, & Recovery For Arts Professionals


Top 10 Things You Can Do Now, to be More Prepared for a Disruption to Your Work (Source: ArtsReady, an initiative of South Arts)


  1. Old-fashioned credit card slide and carbon paper (one or more in the box office or accounting department.)

  2. Up-to-date 360° view of your facilities in pictures, or better yet, video – documentation for the insurance company. Hard copies of the images and/or copy of DVD stored in several off-site locations. Electronic copy stored online or via an internal network that gets backed up regularly.

  3. Staff/Board contact list/phone tree document (includes staff/board cell phones, personal email addresses and emergency contact information for someone out-of state in case of evacuations; suggests calling structure to minimize duplication of efforts).

  4. Recovery contact information and account numbers document (phone #’s for your insurance company, local utilities/telecommunications providers, and local emergency responders all in one place)

  5. Camera and/or video on site. Better for you to select the shots before anyone else does. Not only good for a before and after contrast to provide your insurance company, but also good for including in future communications/appeals for donations with your constituents.

  6. Documented Refund Policy. Schedule training for your staff to expedite customer service in the event of a cancellation or less-than-optimal performance conditions. Make sure this policy is shared with your audience in printed materials and electronic communications or on your website before a crisis.

  7. A standard contingency clause for all contracts. Include it in all contracts. Not the contract writer? Re-read what’s included in the contract and see how you can negotiate to make it match your standard contingency clause more closely.

  8. Alternative facilities list. Have you pre-determined one or more locations that could serve as alternative facilities in the event your electricity fails, a pipe in your building bursts, the concession area has been shut down by the health inspector? If not, what alternative resources do you have for lighting, sound, bathrooms, concessions? If you have a generator, will it last through seating, performance, and departure of audience?

  9. Well-trained ushers. They should know evacuation policies and how to encourage the audience to remain calm in the event of an evacuation during a performance.

  10. Alternative staff structure document. Should one or more members of your staff become incapacitated, do you know who will be delegated their work? Does your entire staff know how delegation would occur in such an event?


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