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Disaster Planning and Essential Records

State and Local Governments:
Call 717-783-3281 If You Have a Records Disaster


During an Emergency

Visit the Department of General Services Disaster/Emergency Procurement website which includes emergency procurement information for use by local governments, school districts, universities and state agencies in the event of a Governor-declared state of emergency. It includes information and resources for the procurement of emergency-related supplies, equipment, and services.

Contact the PA State Archives at 717-783-3281 or by emailing local government staff.

Follow the immediate response guidelines for localized flooding and insects and vermin.


Preparing for an Emergency

Essential Records

Manual 210.8 Vital Records Disaster Training (PDF) assists State Government agencies with how to identify and protect essential (or vital) records.

Watch 👉 Building Blocks for Records Readiness: Evaluating and Improving Disaster Related Performance Outcomes

Disaster Planning Templates

PHMC's staff at Pennsylvania State Archives (PSA) have prepared disaster planning and vital records protection templates. These templates can supplement existing continuity of operations plans (COOP) to further prepare for potential disasters that could affect records. The list includes information about prevention, preparation and recovery, forms to help develop lists of disaster response personnel, priority records, physical description of building, and hazardous materials and example vendor information.


PHMC staff is available for disaster planning training for an audience of 25 or more. Contact 717-772-3257 or email local government staff.


Other Resources

  • Continuity of Government Office in the Office of Administration requires state agencies develop plans to protect records that are vital to governmental activities so that critical services will be uninterrupted, maintained or restored in the event of a disaster.
  • The PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) website has planning and preparedness information for state and local disaster planning.
  • The PA State Archives is a member of the Resources for Emergencies Affecting Cultural Heritage (REACH) working group and proud partners with the American Institute for Conservation - Emergency Committee (AIC-EC). REACH and AIC-EC joined forces with the goal of creating and disseminating a one-stop-shop of trusted, high-quality resources on emergency management for cultural heritage institutions. The culmination of this collaboration is the AIC Emergency Committee Library, which is now available for free to the public. This library is an open-access resource hub for literature, research, tools, forms, and templates on emergency management.  
  • Alliance For Response brings together cultural heritage and emergency management professionals at forums at the local level, where virtually all disaster response begins, and helps the two communities engage in a continuing dialogue. The initial meeting leads to new partnerships and a variety of initiatives to enhance the protection of collections.