NWFed Board Member, Jess, reviews our recent online In Conversation event about emergency planning.

Our first In Conversation event of 2024 kicked off with the subject of emergency planning. We were very grateful to have two talented and experienced speakers – Pierrette Squires from Bolton Museum and Emma Dadson from Harwell Restoration.

Both Pierrette and Emma were hugely insightful about emergency planning within museums and collections care, and talked attendees through a range of case studies including mould outbreaks, flooding, pest infestations, fire damage, partial building collapse and water ingress.

Emma took us through the key aspects of an emergency plan and what you really need to consider when writing it. Getting the basics right was a key takeaway as time is critical and can be the difference between losing multiple items fast compared to limited damage. She spoke about various incidents that she has been involved with and what the learnings were from each one. The line I took away was ‘who knows how to turn the sprinklers off?’.

Pierrette then took us through her experience of using an emergency plan to protect the collection and archive at Bolton Museum. She has experienced more emergency events in the last few years than ever before, showing us what an important topic this is now and why everyone needs to put the time in to prepare. Having disaster kits available with the right equipment and training others within your team and beyond are crucial to ensuring you minimise the impact of an incident, as well as thinking about how other activities within a building can affect collections and cause damage.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this event. We are extremely grateful to both Pierrette and Emma for giving up their precious time to speak with us and our members.

If this is an event you would be interested in, consider joining as a NWFed member to attend future events for free. Please keep an eye out on our website and social media channels for details of