Review existing disaster response plans

Library disaster response efforts do not take place in a vacuum. Make sure to review existing plans in place for your county or city and to coordinate planning efforts with local government partners.

Solano County staff in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) support response efforts during the 2017 Northern California wildfires.

Familiarize yourself with city and county disaster plans

Encourage members of the disaster response team to review and discuss plans developed by local governments. These plans may be called a disaster response plan, emergency response plan or hazard-mitigation plan, depending on your community.


Plans may be written by cities, counties or special districts, such as school or college districts. Review relevant plans, based on your library's location and service area. Understanding how these local governments will respond to a disaster is critical when considering the library’s response.


Talk with city or county emergency staff about the library’s role in existing plans

The extent to which libraries are included in existing government response plans varies widely across the state. In some communities, plans describe the roles that library staff and volunteers will play in a disaster.

These roles may include providing support at an emergency operation center (EOC) or providing services at an alternate location. Library facilities may also be designated for triage, shelters or field hospitals, given the severity of a disaster.


Encourage your library’s emergency coordinator and disaster response team to meet with their counterparts at the city or county level. Reach out to emergency coordinators in departments such as education and public health. Engage local police and fire departments, asking for their guidance as you develop your plan.


If your library already has a disaster response plan, review it

Identify areas that need to be updated and content that may be missing. If possible, talk with staff members that were involved in the plan’s creation. Ask them how they would like to see the plan improved.

Tools & Resources

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This project was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

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