Those responsible for the safe preservation of our cultural heritage bear a heavy responsibility, particularly as the buildings and objects in their custody, or under their control, are usually irreplaceable. Responsible custodians and conservators are generally conscious of the need to keep property safe from accident, mishandling, negligence and natural hazards and can be expected to recognise the importance of fire and security risk management but it is all too easy to overlook the need to have in readiness a current and rehearsed plan for the minimisation of loss or damage in the event of a catastrophic event such as a fire or flood. Prompt and effective action in such a crisis greatly increases the chance of valuable property being rescued or salvaged.
The CFPA-guideline “Developing Evacuation and Salvage Plans for Works of Art and Heritage Buildings” (no. 7:2016/S) will help establishments entrusted with art and heritage property such as museums, libraries, archives, and churches plan for the safe preservation of exhibits in the event of a catastrophic event such as a fire or flood, when timely action is critical. Adoption of the guidance will also have the incidental effect of mitigating risks to the building itself. Others with custody of art property such as warehouses, forwarding companies, galleries and trade exhibition centres will also find the document highly relevant.