A Look Back on National Preparedness Month: How Hurricane Katrina Gave Rise to ArtsReady

Posted by Mr. Omar Nelson, Sep 24, 2015 0 comments

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month (NPM)?

Have you reflected on the significance of the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina? If so, have you been inspired to take steps in your arts organization to make it more resilient?

For South Arts, National Preparedness Month and the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina are momentous with the two occasion’s eventually giving rise to ArtsReady, a national initiative which has a mission to make emergency preparedness a high priority in the arts.

National Preparedness Month (NPM), established by FEMA in 2004, encourages you to prepare for emergencies in your home and business. NPM focuses on an organization’s buoyancy after a crisis and advocates preparation as a best practice. FEMA chose to highlight NPM in September to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks and to emphasize the peak hurricane season in the Atlantic.

The aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August 2005 also directly led to the research, development, and launch of ArtsReady. While assessing the losses undergone by arts organizations in the region, South Arts’ board was compelled to help make its organizations more resilient. A movement was born. Thanks to funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the NEA, and the Doris Duke Foundation, ArtsReady would become a national initiative and a chief advocate of readiness-planning for the arts.

ArtsReady and Americans for the Arts, emergency preparedness partners since 2012, encourages you to get prepared for emergencies and disasters, and to join ArtsReady!

Even if you feel you’re not in a hurricane zone, you’re still vulnerable to many forces beyond your control. An ArtsReady Basic Membership is free and gives you the ArtsReady quarterly eNewsletter, ArtsReady Alerts, and immediate notification of critical updates to the ArtsReady website.

When you’re serious about building a customized comprehensive emergency preparedness plan, then upgrading to an ArtsReady Premium Membership is your best option. You’ll receive all the benefits of an ArtsReady Basic Member plus: a complete assessment of your organization’s state of readiness; detailed steps to develop and maintain a comprehensive readiness plan; unlimited cloud-based storage for your critical files; access to the Battle Buddy network; and the ability to contribute valuable content to the ArtsReady Library.

Plus, Americans for the Arts members receive 50% off first year Premium Membership with ArtsReady!

We understand that finding time to develop a complete readiness plan can be a challenge. However, a little awareness can go a long way. Simply familiarizing yourself with the concepts of readiness planning can give you some advantage over a crisis.

For example, do you know that your arts organization must take a different approach to developing a readiness plan than most other organizations? It makes sense. Arts organizations are made of more than just buildings, staff, office equipment, and financials. You also have theatres, instruments, costumes, artwork, ticketing systems, and many other unique items and functions that must be protected.  As an arts organization you are strongly encouraged to develop a readiness plan - not by attempting to address all imaginable disasters - but instead by looking at the specific operations or critical functions that could be affected no matter what the disaster or business setback may be. This is the ‘All-Hazards’ approach to emergency preparedness planning and is the ArtsReady philosophy.

So what are your critical functions? In the event of a crisis are you able to quickly identify your operations at risk? Nine Critical Functions are typical within the arts industry. See them here. With an ArtsReady Premium Membership you can identify your critical functions and develop a plan to protect each one. Watch this video to see how it’s done. Building an emergency preparedness plan in general takes time.

The ArtsReady tool guides you step by step so you don’t have to figure out how to develop your plan. That said it does take a commitment and needs to be done in manageable steps. To make your ArtsReady Premium Member experience as manageable as possible, make certain to talk with the ArtsReady Membership Manager to see if a Premium Membership is right for you.

Until you’re ready for a Premium Membership however, sign up for a Basic Membership. There’s no cost and you’ll begin to receive beneficial information about emergency preparedness planning directly from an ArtsReady Team member.

We hope you’re taking heed to emergency preparedness messages from ArtsReady and Americans for the Arts sent through eNewsletters and posted on our websites. They provide helpful ways to make your organization more resilient.

Remember, just a little awareness puts you ahead of your next crisis.

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