5.1 General

Disaster preparedness includes all measures to prevent, or at least minimize, the negative effects of unpreventable incidents of all kind, be they of natural origin, such as earthquakes and extreme weather conditions (which seem to be becoming more common in recent years), or man-made, like civil unrest, warfare, and others. The basic elements of disaster preparedness start with factors such as the choice of site for new archive buildings. A systematic search for any intrinsic dangers in existing archive buildings and their neighbourhoods should also be undertaken. Detailed plans to react appropriately in the case of unpreventable disasters will need to be prepared. These should have the protection of staff and visitors, as well as the survival of the collection, as the foremost principles to be considered.

A detailed discussion of disaster preparedness is beyond the scope of this publication. Environmental influences and specific preventive measures have been discussed in the respective parts of chapter 3. However, because of particular risks of fire and water to audiovisual carriers, these two aspects are covered here.28 Finally, because of the absolute dependence on electric power, the necessity of an uninterrupted power supply in the case of disaster is underlined.

28. For general aspects of disaster preparedness, see bibliography.