Posts Tagged ‘COSTEP MA’

A Disaster Mitigation Framework for Cultural Resources

Posted on: February 2nd, 2015 by Jessica Unger | SHEP

In 2011, the state cultural heritage emergency network COSTEP MA (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness in Massachusetts) received a three-year Hazard Mitigation grant from FEMA through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. The goal of the project was to increase public awareness – particularly by cultural stewards, emergency managers, municipal planners, and other town officials – of mitigation actions that could safeguard cultural collections in their municipality. The project encouraged collaboration between the cultural and emergency management communities for the protection of cultural and historic resources. Deliverables included conducting 14 community meetings across the state, offering four Risk Assessment and Mitigation Planning workshops, and producing a framework on how others can conduct a similar program at the state, regional, or local level.  The framework – Mitigation for Memory: A Disaster Mitigation Framework for Cultural Resources is available here on COSTEP MA’s website. If you have any questions, contact Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, Preservation Specialist, at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Vermont History Center Hosts Updating Session on VT’s New Emergency Operation Plan

Posted on: April 14th, 2014 by Jessica Unger | AFR, Montpelier, VT

On Feb. 14, 2014, a meeting was held at the Vermont History Center in Barre to update staff of various cultural organizations and Vermont Emergency Management on the state’s new Emergency Operation Plan, and specifically, SSF-11. It was the first time many members of the group had met since the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011, and some people were new to their positions. The group plans to meet at least twice a year, with one of those meetings focusing on some type of training.

On March 19, 2014, Jackie Calder and Laura Brill from the Vermont Historical Society attended the FEMA Region I NCH (Natural and Cultural Resources and Historic Properties) Alliance meeting in Portsmouth, NH. Representatives from COSTEP MA also attended.

Participate in EMI’s Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) Series

Posted on: November 21st, 2013 by Jessica Unger | SHEP

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is offering monthly Virtual Tabletop Exercises (VTTX). The VTTX involves key personnel discussing simulated scenarios in an informal setting and can be used to assess plans, policies, training, and procedures. These exercises provide an excellent opportunity for your cultural agencies to engage with your EMA to further customize the scenario to include cultural and historic resources. Upcoming VTTX include tornado, wildland fire, flood, and hurricane scenarios.

The VTTX differs from other tabletop exercises in that it is conducted using Video-Teleconference (VTC) technology (not web based), and is intended to provide an opportunity for responders across the nation to participate simultaneously in a hazard-specific facilitated discussion. Lead facilitation for the exercise will be coordinated by EMI, with local facilitation provided by the participating EMA. This format will allow the common delivery of exercise materials, scenarios, modules, and discussion questions among those participating in the exercise.

The cultural heritage emergency network COSTEP MA (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness in Massachusetts) participated in the EMI tornado VTTX offered in early 2013. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency worked with COSTEP MA to further customize the scenario to focus specifically on cultural and historic resource issues. The collaboration has since led to the drafting of a document that will establish Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines to be used by COSTEP MA personnel following a major disaster. Great things can result when you collaborate!

Click here for the VTTX schedule and more information.

NYC AFR Two-Year Initiative Funded by New York Community Trust

Posted on: October 30th, 2013 by Jessica Unger | AFR, New York City, NY

With generous funding from the New York Community Trust (NYCT), Heritage Preservation and Alliance for Response NYC have launched a two-year initiative to develop key tools to improve emergency communication within the New York cultural community and train and manage a local Heritage Response Team to respond to disasters at local institutions.To kick off this initiative, AFR NYC has launched a new Facebook page for announcements, useful links, tips, and articles. Please visit, “like,” and share!

NYCT funding has enabled AFR NYC to partner with a local web production firm to build a robust infrastructure that will support an online registry of local cultural organizations. Access to these resources will be provided through a new website, currently in development.

On October 7, 2013, AFR NYC will participate in a panel discussion at the New York Archives Week Symposium: Disaster Planning for Archives and their Communities at the Center for Jewish History. The panel is entitled The Impact of Cultural Collecting Institutions on Their Communities, and will be presented in conjunction with representatives from Philadelphia’s Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts. The co-chair of COSTEP MA will also participate on a panel entitled Preparing Emergency and Cultural Resources Personnel to Respond During and Following a Disaster.