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CCAHA's Risk Assessment and Emergency Preparedness Program

  • March 31, 2017

CCAHA is seeking applicants for its Risk Assessment and Emergency Preparedness Program. Through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), CCAHA is able to offer a limited number of subsidized risk assessments. Awarded institutions will pay a total of just $350 for services valued at over $5,000. 

It is inevitable that some emergencies and disasters will affect cultural institutions, whether they be pest or mold infestations, floods, hurricanes, fires, or water main breaks. However, the potential for long-term damage caused by incidents like these can be minimized by planning in advance. 

One of the most important steps a cultural institution can take to safeguard its collections is to be prepared in the event of an emergency or disaster. An Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan is an integral part of a comprehensive Preservation Program. The preparation and continued updating of a plan has several benefits including identification of areas of risk and hazards, establishment of procedures and systems to mitigate potential risks, determination of collections priorities, and development of procedures for quick response to limit damage to collections. 

Institutions selected to participate in CCAHA's competitive Risk Assessment and Emergency Preparedness Program will receive a site visit from a CCAHA preservation expert. The assessor will spend one full day on-site at the institution. The institution will first receive a written Risk Assessment report providing observations, recommendations and potential mitigation strategies, and resources to serve as a guide in the development of a comprehensive emergency preparedness and response plan for the collections. 

As part of the process, the assessor will review and examine the institution’s:

  • environment
  • history
  • location
  • structural issues and needs
  • weather and geographic risks
  • mold and pest control
  • fire protection
  • security procedures and issues
  • available local resources
  • training requirements
  • insurance considerations
  • collections documentation
  • collections salvage priorities 

Then, CCAHA staff will work with staff at the institutions to develop a full Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for the collections. The Plan includes information on essential contacts, emergency response and recovery vendors, emergency communication, insurance, salvage priorities for the collections, and salvage procedures relevant to the types of materials in the institution’s collections. 

The institution pays a total of just $350 for services valued at over $5,000. There are no additional fees for travel, supplies, etc.


Collections should:

  • be related to the humanities
  • be available to the public on a regularly scheduled basis
  • have national or regional significance

Institutions must be willing to make a commitment to developing an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan or updating the plan that they currently have in place. 

Institutions should be small- to mid-sized. Priority will be given to institutions that would not normally have the resources to pay for this service at full cost, or the staff time or expertise to complete the assessment and plan development in-house. 

Federal institutions are not eligible.

Application Process and Deadline

Download instructions:

  • Click the link below to complete the pre-download form.
  • Once you have submitted this form, links to the PDF form and Microsoft Word document of the application will appear.
  • Click these links to open the files, then save them to your computer.

Please note: Applicants with Adobe Acrobat Professional installed on their computers will be able to type in their answers in the fields of the application PDF and save the document after making any changes.  Applicants who do not have Adobe Acrobat Professional installed should complete the application as a Microsoft Word document (as answers typed into the PDF form cannot be saved without Adobe Acrobat Professional).

Please contact Preservation Services at if you have any trouble downloading or filling out the application.


Click here to complete the pre-download form and download the application.

All applications must be emailed or postmarked by Friday, March 31, 2017.

If you have questions or want to discuss the suitability of this program for your institution, please contact CCAHA’s Preservation Services Office at 215.545.0613 or