Protecting heritage buildings with a disaster control plan

13 August 2019

Insuring historic property and valuable contents is a highly specialised area that requires expert assessment and professional advice.

The possibility of disaster, whether natural or man-made has a disproportionate impact on buildings and items that are irreplaceable and therefore never entirely insurable. Many disasters remain out of our control; however we can still plan, prevent, respond and hopefully recover from them.

What is a disaster control plan?

  • An action plan that can be immediately implemented in any emergency situation
  • Covers best practice for day-to-day maintenance and routine preventative care
  • Outlines what to do in any event from a small-scale incident to a major catastrophe.

Why do I need one?

  • Provides procedures for when disaster strikes, to ensure the most effective response where prompt and decisive action is essential
  • Reduce the risk and potential consequences of disaster striking by using preventative measures.

The four main elements of a disaster control plan

  • Prevention
    Assessing risks and threats and attempting to reduce or remove them.
  • Planning
    Identifying chains of responsibility, creating ‘grab lists’, establishing support networks and training staff.
  • Response
    Planning evacuation procedures and assessing and stabilising the situation.
  • Recovery
    Carrying out the salvage process to ensure operations return to normal quickly.
Disaster control plans don’t come ‘off the shelf’. If you are a private house owner with a valuable collection your needs will differ from those of the team running a museum and your plan will be applicable to your own circumstances.
This checklist is designed to give you a quick overview of the sorts of issues you need to consider when putting your plan together.