The first step in creating a disaster plan is to gain institutional commitment to the planning process. The administration must approve the expenditure of the time and money required to draft and implement the plan, as well as provide for staff training.
The disaster planning team should be comprised of staff with responsibility for collections care. The team may be large or small, depending on the size of the institution. Small institutions might consider cooperating with other small organizations within the community, so that they can pool emergency resources and help each other to stay on schedule when preparing a plan. In a large institution, the disaster team might include library professionals, a conservator, a facility manager, and a technology support representative. Input from fire safety professionals, police, and other interested parties will provide added energy and visibility to the planning process and broaden perspectives on various issues.
The disaster planning team should be led by a disaster planning manager, appointed by the institution's director. This person is responsible for setting objectives, coordinating the project, establishing a budget, and approving expenditures. The team must prepare a realistic timetable for the completion of each task or goal, including testing and future updates of the plan.
Each member of the team should be assigned responsibility for a specific category or part of the plan: assessing risks, devising prevention activities, gathering information on supplies and services, preparing response procedures, etc. Tasks should be assigned according to the ability of various staff members to best handle them. It is usually a good idea to assign one person the responsibility of pulling together all the information gathered by the team into a written plan.