This guide aims to help all who are responsible for museums and galleries to prepare for disasters and emergencies. It defines an emergency plan as one that first cares for visitors and staff and cares for and safeguards archeological sites, natural lands, buildings and structures, irreplaceable collections, and historical records during a disaster. The three main themes addressed in this handbook are:
- Immediate Action - outlining actions that anyone who is at the cultural institution when an emergency occurs can perform as part of the emergency team.
- Long-term Plan - where the protection manager prepares the institution to survive during a major emergency or disaster by developing a long-term emergency protection plan. This provides emergency protection and conservation services when no outside assistance is available.
- Asset Protection - outlining that every object in a collection requires a consistent level of at least minimally adequate care, especially during emergencies.