In 2011, the state cultural heritage emergency network COSTEP MA (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness in Massachusetts) received a three-year Hazard Mitigation grant from FEMA through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. The goal of the project was to increase public awareness – particularly by cultural stewards, emergency managers, municipal planners, and other town officials – of mitigation actions that could safeguard cultural collections in their municipality. The project encouraged collaboration between the cultural and emergency management communities for the protection of cultural and historic resources. Deliverables included conducting 14 community meetings across the state, offering four Risk Assessment and Mitigation Planning workshops, and producing a framework on how others can conduct a similar program at the state, regional, or local level. The framework – Mitigation for Memory: A Disaster Mitigation Framework for Cultural Resources – is available here on COSTEP MA’s website. If you have any questions, contact Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, Preservation Specialist, at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is offering monthly Virtual Tabletop Exercises (VTTX). The VTTX involves key personnel discussing simulated scenarios in an informal setting and can be used to assess plans, policies, training, and procedures. These exercises provide an excellent opportunity for your cultural agencies to engage with your EMA to further customize the scenario to include cultural and historic resources. Upcoming VTTX include tornado, wildland fire, flood, and hurricane scenarios.
The VTTX differs from other tabletop exercises in that it is conducted using Video-Teleconference (VTC) technology (not web based), and is intended to provide an opportunity for responders across the nation to participate simultaneously in a hazard-specific facilitated discussion. Lead facilitation for the exercise will be coordinated by EMI, with local facilitation provided by the participating EMA. This format will allow the common delivery of exercise materials, scenarios, modules, and discussion questions among those participating in the exercise.
The cultural heritage emergency network COSTEP MA (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness in Massachusetts) participated in the EMI tornado VTTX offered in early 2013. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency worked with COSTEP MA to further customize the scenario to focus specifically on cultural and historic resource issues. The collaboration has since led to the drafting of a document that will establish Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines to be used by COSTEP MA personnel following a major disaster. Great things can result when you collaborate!
Click here for the VTTX schedule and more information.