Course:4: Housing Your Collections
Lesson:Lesson 3: Disasters--When Bad Things Happen to Good Records
Topic:Fix What You Can and Prepare for the Rest--Make a Risk List


Fix What You Can and Prepare for the Rest:  Make a Risk List 

Risk Identification 

Can you prevent a disaster? Yes! Some disasters are completely preventable, such as incidents caused by leaky pipes, cracked windows, or damaged wiring. Use the blank risk list worksheet for you to use to begin identifying potential risks to your historical records. As we discuss preventive planning, you can use it to fill in the risks that pertain to you. 

Step One. Identify hazards that could cause a disaster and get them fixed. Make a list of the problems you identify; and make plans to get them fixed. Of course, you canít prevent all disasters. But you can identify potential problems that may occur. And once you know the problems or risks, you can prepare for them. 

What are you looking for?  Leaky pipes, fire hazards, roofs that leak, and the like.   

Step Two. List the natural disasters that could affect you. You donít have to prepare for every disaster. You have to prepare for the disasters that could realistically happen to you. Consider your geographic location and what kinds of potential natural disasters could happen. These could include hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, or forest fires.  

Step Three. List the potential man-made disasters that could occur. These might include acts of terror, power outages, sprinkler discharges, or chemical spills. 

Step Four. Prioritize. If a disaster occurs, you should know what parts of your collections are the top priorities for staff to get out of harmís way. This can be a difficult judgment call; but when faced with a disaster chances are there are items you would want to save first, although you would try to save everything. 

Decrease Your Risks

Now that youíve identified risks and prioritized collections, you can take action. Decide what needs to be done to eliminate or decrease the risks youíve identified. Prioritize the actions and get them taken care of. You canít eliminate every risk, but you should eliminate what you can. You canít change the weather, but you can fix the roof!

pair of dice
Identifying and prioritizing risks helps you design mitigations.

Leaky pipe
This leaking pipe is a preventable disaster. Get such hazards fixed and decrease your risks.