Keep calm and avoid disaster

Hey, new Trainee Esme here!

So this week I had fun attacking the Castle with fire, floods, utility failure, gas leaks, vandalism, infestation and weather (only in my illustration of course!). I missed out terrorism and theft, but you get the idea. Each week, we as Trainees learn about a different area or specialism, and recently this included Emergency Planning. I thought I would share the world of ‘worst case scenarios’ for Colchester Castle and it’s collections with you.

After being introduced to the different threats that might lead to an emergency, we looked at case studies of recent and memorable disasters. These included the infamous fire at Hampton Court Palace, the Cutty Sark and the more recent destruction at Clandon Park.

An exercise put us in the midst of a fictional, full on disaster…

emergency-planning-excercise-4

This was my attempt at working out what to do, when everything was falling down around us. It was quite tricky to decide on a course of action, as some of these steps at a first glance could happen simultaneously.

We then walked through what might actually need to happen and which steps should be prioritised…

emergency-planning-excercise-2

Fetching the emergency kit sounded to me like quite an urgent job … but as we learned, it is important to have everything in place so that you can use an emergency kit effectively.

In the last exercise we were again thrown back into another, more leaky fictional disaster…

emergency-planning-excercise-3

This time, the steps felt a little clearer to put into place and led to quite a bit of discussion. We talked about how to create barriers for channelling water away from collections when utility failure occurs. Water always travels downhill, so a leak could be re-directed away from objects at risk and channelled down a staircase for instance.

Having experienced these fictional threats and emergencies, I feel that I have a much better understanding of how to keep calm and avoid real disasters using careful planning and maintenance.

Until next time

Esme

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