n.an actively maintained document containing procedures and information needed to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergenciesLangelier and Wright 1981, 47–48The quick action and careful handling of materials by staff who understand the disaster plan can result in a far higher percentage of collections salvaged and in far lower restoration costs.Marrelli 1983, 273Moreover, the very act of drafting and then maintaining a good, always current, disaster plan raises an archives’ awareness of possible emergency conditions and hones its sense of preparedness, and thus is a good way to lessen the effects of a disaster.Marrelli 1983, 274Consider building appropriate communication channels into your disaster plan. When you develop your disaster plan, consider replacement instead of salvage if this is possible.Totka 1993, 665Many archival repositories in the United States have a disaster plan to cope with a flood or fire, but few have a formalized plan to deal with theft.Rekrut 2003, 159While lacking glamour, the process of disaster planning is fundamental to effective preservation management, and the development of a disaster plan is just one of many preservation strategies which will be informed by this process.Kahn 2012, 2First, thinking about disasters, or “the worst,” is the best first line of defense and prevention. If nothing ever went wrong, then disaster plans would be a waste of time. Sadly, this is not the case. Every day we read about floods, mold infections, and fires that cause irreparable harm to library and archival collections.Read and Ginn 2016, 370–371Other organizations have developed business continuity/disaster management plans. Disaster recovery plans may also be referred to as contingency plans, emergency plans, or disaster plans. Whatever their title, these plans are developed and implemented to provide guidance for protecting records and information and continuing business operations when emergencies and disasters occur.Moustafa 2016, 334–335Individuals and organizations that wish to prepare disaster plans to preserve cultural heritage during wartime should consider the following steps and strategies: ¶ •Promote disaster prevention measures to protect cultural heritage materials and sites. ¶ •Create cost-effective methods to prevent disasters. ¶ •Involve local nongovernmental organizations in educating the public about preserving cultural heritage and helping to stop the looting of cultural sites. ¶ •Liaise between civilian experts and the military to identify important buildings and sites to limit damage and looting. . . .Harvey and Mahard 2020, 57A formal, printed disaster plan readily available to staff is indispensable in preparing for and responding to the occurrence of disasters. It acknowledges the possibility of disasters happening, that the organization is committed to action if they do happen, that decision making is relevant, and that damage to collections can be reduced and costs contained. On a practical level, a disaster plan provides staff with step-by-step instructions. ¶ A disaster plan assumes that general emergency procedures covering situations that threaten the health and safety of people are in place and addresses what needs to happen after people are safe.Harvey and Mahard 2020, 59It is crucial that the disaster plan and its lists are kept current. An annual review of the plan must be established, and a staff member (probably a member of the disaster response team) should be designated to update it.Joffrion and Cloonan 2020, 133As with the assessment of all risks, determining the likelihood of a disaster is a key element in developing an effective disaster plan for all materials, analog and digital.Joffrion and Cloonan 2020, 133The disaster plan must also address the IT systems, including an inventory of hardware (e.g., servers, desktops, laptops, and wireless devices), software applications, data, and a list of vendors.Joffrion and Cloonan 2020, 135It is not sufficient for only the disaster team to be privy to the disaster plan and response strategies. . . . The disaster plan and the IT disaster plan should be tested periodically to make sure they work. Afterward, the plans should be updated based on lessons learned.
In the archival literature, disaster plan, disaster recovery plan, and disaster response plan are often used interchangeably; however, there are distinctions between disaster response and disaster recovery efforts. Sometimes, contingency plan is also used synonymously with disaster plan, although the term does not necessarily relate to contingencies involving a disaster. The disaster plan is referred to before, during, and after a disaster, and it is used in conjunction with a salvage plan, which includes specific procedures for salvaging materials during disaster recovery.