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Sunday, May 15 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
(Emergency) National strategy and regional reality: A systematic approach to disaster preparedness and recovery for cultural property

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For several decades, the Swedish National Heritage Board (SNHB) has provided information regarding fire protection and disaster recovery through publications and conferences. Several fires in buildings of both national and regional cultural importance, as well as floods and spectacular thefts, have high-lighted that the information in question needs to be better disseminated and to be implemented by fire authorities, insurance companies, property managers and other stakeholders. In 2006, less than ten years ago, a more systematic approach was implemented. A national cross-sectional network on disaster preparedness and recovery for cultural heritage, chaired by SNHB, was established. Today it is a functioning network, including organisations such as the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Kammarkollegiet (for government indemnity), the Swedish Property Authority, the Church of Sweden, several federal museums and the Swedish Fire Protection Association. An online handbook with practical checklists was created by SNHB with a cross disciplinary reference group, including insurers, fire fighters, security managers, conservators and building conservators. A national expert advisor is available to observe and collect information from different disasters, and contribute to national and international disaster preparedness networks. SNHB is aiming for the inclusion of cultural heritage in risk management and disaster planning in general, especially when at present national, and international work is focussing on climate change. One example is the European Flood Directive where cultural heritage is one of four main aspects. In line with the Hyogo framework for action and the upcoming Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, SNHB has been a member of the Swedish National Platform for disaster risk reduction since 2011. In addition, SNHB exchanges information regarding risks in other arenas, for example conferences on fire fighting. This paper will present the challenges of implementing national strategies at a regional and local level. How does cooperation between fire authorities and cultural heritage management work? How shall the information reach those who really need it? These challenges were put to the test in the summer of 2014 during a forest fire which threatened the World Heritage Site Engelsberg’s Ironworks and several churches, as well as during extensive flooding on the Swedish west coast a couple of weeks later. These disasters high-lighted the importance of already existing networks. Protecting cultural heritage within the areas was therefore high on the agenda from the very start. We will present case studies from the museum, archive and library sectors, as well as the Church of Sweden, where the national strategy has been implemented. These organisations have taken the fire and flood threat very seriously and put financial and other resources into disaster preparedness. Which arguments did they use to implement their strategy? How was information received by stakeholders? How were resources used? Did there need to be an accident/incident before measures were taken? Finally, we ask about the role of the enthusiastic individual, those persons with an intimate interest in the property – is a disaster plan ever made without their initiative?

avatar for Erika Hedhammar

Erika Hedhammar

Advisor, Swedish National Heritage Board
Erika Hedhammar is risk management advisor at the Swedish National Heritage Board. She has a BSc in conservation from the University of Gothenburg. With her background as textile conservator, she has often dealt with water or fire damaged objects. The ICCROM course First aid to cultural... Read More →

avatar for Lisa Nilsen

Lisa Nilsen

Advisor, Swedish National Heritage Board
Lisa Nilsen works part-time as advisor for the Swedish National Heritage Board. She has a BSc in conservation from the University of Gothenburg. Lisa Nilsen worked for three years with the Norwegian Museum Authority on protection from fire and theft for Norwegian museums. She also... Read More →

Sunday May 15, 2016 2:00pm - 2:30pm EDT
Room 513 A/C