Disaster Planning Meeting: Facility
(Estimated 1 ½ - 2 hours)
Homework to be completed before the meeting:
1. Create a draft of a basic floor plan of the institution’s building(s) showing locations of emergency exits,
fire and motion alarm controls, extinguishers, other safety features, water, heat, and other utility
controls, collections storage, etc. are noted
2. Develop a basic evacuation plan for the organization, addressing visitor and staff safety
3. Review the Heritage Preservation checklist, noting concerns specific to the organization
4. Brainstorm any needed facilities-related contacts for the PReP
Materials for meeting:
1. Copy of the draft floor plan for each participant
2. Copy of the basic evacuation plan for each participant
3. Copy of the Heritage Preservation checklist
4. Copies of the current PReP for each participant
Meeting agenda:
Review the evacuation plan keeping the following questions in mind
 Do the proposed evacuation routes make sense for how the building is typically used?
 Does the proposed gathering spot make sense from a logistics and safety perspective?
 Are there any spaces where it may be difficult to determine if someone is present and hasn’t
 Are there any questions coming out of this that should be brought to the fire department?
Circulate copies of the PReP, briefly reviewing the facilities-related contacts
Review any concerns coming out of the Heritage Preservation checklist
Walk through the facility as a group, verifying and/or adding on to the draft floor plan, making sure
that emergency exits, fire and motion alarm controls, extinguishers, other safety features, water, heat,
and other utility controls are noted.
 If possible, have someone from the organization briefly explain to the group how utility
controls work (water shut off, furnace shut off, etc.)
 If any section of the building is historic, make note of that
 Make note of any edits that must be made to the floor plan based on the walk through
Assign homework
 Clean up of the draft floor plan based on the walk through
 Clean up of the draft evacuation plan based on feedback
Make a list of questions to bring up during the fire department walk through
Assign someone to update the PReP, follow up contacts based on the input from the meeting
Assign homework to be completed to prepare for the next meeting
Facilities Meeting Background:
When was the last time you took a close look at your physical plant? This meeting is designed to get you to do
just that, and then think through how your organization's particular strengths and weaknesses will play out in a
disaster. Each facility is very different so a lot of decisions will have to made based on your organization’s
specific circumstances (do you have town water or a well? a basic oil furnace or a complicated HVAC system?
are you a small stand-alone facility or do you rent space in a larger building?). Be prepared to think carefully
about your situation – and if your facility is complicated, be prepared to spend more than the estimated time
on this conversation.
Who Should Attend This Meeting:
The Facilities Meeting should include representation from the organization’s decision makers/leadership,
facilities and collections people (whether staff or volunteer), and those that may be called to respond to an
after-hours alarm. You may also want to include staff or volunteers responsible for collections care and/or
front-line staff or volunteers that may be in the position of manning the facility alone or be responsible for
helping to evacuate visitors. A building-related checklist, floor plan and evacuation plan will be reviewed.
Typically the meeting will uncover a list of concerns and questions that should be brought to the Fire
Department Meeting.
In working through this process with 26 different organizations, CERC has found that it works best when:
 You don’t over think the evacuation plan – for most organizations it is a short, straightforward
 You review the Heritage Preservation checklist ahead of the meeting and focus the conversation on
concerns that the checklist highlighted. It is a comprehensive list, so do not feel bad about skimming
the sections less relevant to your organization.
 You have someone taking notes on the questions and concerns that should be brought to the Fire
Department Meeting.
 You keep the floor plan simple, if you have to create one from scratch. Try to use a program that you
will be able to make modifications on in the future (CERC used Publisher, Powerpoint, Excel, Word, etc.
for this project, basing the choice in part on the organization’s comfort level with the program).
Things to Think About in the Meeting:
In the event of an evacuation, where is a safe place to gather outside to make sure everyone is
accounted for? Think about someplace out of the way of danger, easy to get to, and easily visible to
the fire department. How will you handle people with mobility challenges?
Who knows how to shut off the water, turn off the furnace, etc.? Who else should know (if someone is
manning the facility alone and a pipe breaks, does it make more sense for that person to attempt to
shut off the water or to take the chance of significant water damage waiting for someone else to
What to Do With the Information:
This meeting is the basis for the floor plan and the evacuation plan. Those plans will be finalized in the Fire
Department Meeting.
Examples are included with the materials for the Fire Department Meeting.