Emergency Recovery Plan

This Emergency Recovery Plan was designed to assist you in the development of your Emergency Recovery Plan.  This Emergency Recovery Plan was developed using the following resources. You are free to edit the Disaster Recovery Plan Template as you see fit. The objective of a Emergency Recovery Plan is to ensure that you can respond to a disaster or other emergency that affects information systems and minimize the effect on the operation of the business. This topic provides you with guidelines for the kind of information and procedures that you need to recover from a disaster. When you have prepared the information described in this topic, store your document in a safe, accessible location off site.

  • California Preservation Program.  Disaster Plan Template, 2005. http://calpreservation.org/disasters/index.html
  • Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia, Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan, 2008.
  • Fortson, Judith. Disaster Planning and Recovery: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians and Archivists. New York: Neal-Schuman, 1992.
  • Jones, Virginia A. and Kris E. Keyes.  Emergency Management for Records and Information Programs.  Prairie Village, KS: ARMA, 2001.

You can download this Emergency Recovery Plan for free using the links below:

Microsoft Word 97-2003: Click Here

Microsoft Word 2010: Click Here

Adobe PDF:  Click Here

Emergency Recovery Plan: Why Do You Need One?

This document explains the points an organization needs to think about in order to prepare its own disaster recovery plan so that, should an interruption occur, it is able to resume operations.

To complete its plan, staff members will have to search for answers and fill in the blanks.  Each organization’s circumstances and structures are unique, so a plan will have to be tailored to suit its needs.  It is important to recognize that there is no “magic” plan that an organization can purchase that will provide all the answers or that will create a plan for them.  There is no document that will address every situation and circumstance.  Conceivably an organization could share its plan with another organization for ideas on how to formulate a plan; however, some plans may include confidential information that should not be made available to those outside the organization.

Take this document and use it as you wish:  cut and paste those sections that are applicable, expand where needed.  Assign a crew to complete the various sections, take a copy home…store it on your intranet…give copies to key personnel, including the board chair, the secretary or another appropriate board member

In creating a disaster plan, don’t become overwhelmed by the tasks ahead.  Work on it in sections, doing first the things that seem most important — e.g., personnel, computer/IT, etc. — and as time allows.  The most important thing is to make some plans that can be implemented in the event of an interruption.

This document was drawn from a series of disaster planning and recovery seminars given for NPCC by the following individuals and/or reviewed by:   American Red Cross of Greater New York;  William Krouslis; Allen Breslow, Esq.; Joshua Peskay and Kim Snyder, Fund for the City of New York;  Ken Liebman and Jack Stravidis, Frank Crystal & Company; John Burke, AIG; Bob Bender; Marcia Brown.  Daniel Myers, compiler.

The tragic events of September 11th, 2001 clearly demonstrate that terrorism and other catastrophic events can severely disrupt the schools, program and business.  One of the most prudent precautions an organization can adopt to reduce the adverse impact of such event is the adoption of a well thought out emergency response plan that deals with a variety of emergencies, including the potential risk of terrorist attacks.  All ERP need to address basic procedures, which are needed to handle, anticipated emergencies at your organization.  And everyone needs to know about them.  It helps if you have;

  • Clearly written policies that designate a chain of command, listing names, duties and emergency contact information
  • Names of those responsible for risk and damage assessment who should be notified
  • Evacuation procedures

All organizations are susceptible to disasters of all types, which can interrupt their business, or in the worst cases, shut them down permanently.  These disasters may be grouped into three categories:

Natural Disasters – Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Winter Storms, etc.

  1. Man-made Disasters – Fires, Bomb, Biological or Chemical, Accidents
  2. Threats, Terrorist Attacks, Angry / Dangeous Clients or Employees
  3. Political Disasters, Strikes, Riots, Civil Disturbances, etc.

Contingency planning is the identification, prior to a disaster, of all critical procedures and resources necessary for the organizations survival.  The purpose of such a program is to anticipate, and plan for these emergency situations before they arise, thus lessening their effects.  A properly organized plan will ultimately take into consideration the safety of clients, students and employees first, and will also minimize the business interruption, which usually succeeds a disaster.

Here are some useful web sites to gain additional, specific information:


American Red Cross                                                     www.redcross.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention           www.cdc.gov

Federal Bureau of Investigation                                 www.fbi.gov

Federal Emergency Management Agency               www.fema.gov

Occupational Safety and Health Administration      www.osha.gov

US Environmental Protection Agency                       www.epa.gov


Emergency Recovery Plan: The Need for a Contingency Plan

In today’s increasingly data processing driven, and computer assisted business world, there is an important reality that is often overlooked:




With this in mind, there is a dire need for most (if not all) organizations to have a disaster recovery and contingency plan.


A few reasons for the necessity of implementing such a plan include:


  • Maintenance of a cash flow
  • Protection of vital records
  • Protection of employees
  • Legal requirements by authorities
  • Maintenance of healthy relations with all concerned


To help illustrate the need for a contingency plan, please consider the following statistics:


  • Every five minutes, a business catches fire in the United States;  of these, 90% suffer catastrophic losses
  • 75% of all businesses (with, or without, a contingency plan) in the United States, store both their original, and backup copies of vital records, and critical data on-site.  This means that in the event of a disaster ALL DATA CRITICAL TO BUSINESS RESTORATION AND CONTINUATION WILL BE LOST
  • Natural disasters are not the only risk to be considered.  Human error and computer crime are silent, hidden factors that can cripple or corrupt a business.


All organizations face potential disruptions and also liability lawsuits if they do not have a plan in place.  In the near future all insurance carriers will require such a plan if it is not already required in your state – also if you live near a nuclear power station or other sensitive area.


In the event of a disaster, or eminent emergency situation, several emergency response teams (formed soon after the contingency plan is initially implemented) will be responsible for properly activating, and administering the disaster plan in conjunction with the ERT Coordinator (person chosen at the time the contingency plan is adopted).  Some teams, and their responsibilities, deserving due consideration, but not necessarily contained in every plan include *:

A.  Security Teams

1.  Alerting and warning

2.  Incident recording and reporting

3.  Law enforcement

4.  Movement / evacuation supervision

B.  Fire Control Teams

1.  Small fire fighting

2.  Hazardous materials management

C.  First Aid Teams

1.  CPR Skills

2.  Basic first aid skills / some advanced first aid skills

D.  Damage Assessment and Recovery Teams

1.  Securing shelter for temporary operations

2.  Building inspection

3.  Construction recovery

4.  Engineering recovery

E.  Service Teams

1.  Public notification systems

2.  Transportation services

3.  Equipment services

4.  Emergency shelter designation

5.  Edp/vital records management

F.  Supplies Teams

1.  Medical supplies

2.  Food, water, candles, tape, blankets

3.  New equipment supplies

4.  Sanitation supplies

*In smaller organizations, these teams may perform several, overlapping functions

Emergency Recovery Plan: Evacuation Routine

The goal of this function is to evacuate people, and move resources out of the threatened area.  Depending on the emergency circumstances, evacuation of the building, site or area may require provisions for completing a number of sequential actions.  All interactions among these responses must be identified, and thought out in a systematic fashion so that a proper sequence can be established to insure that operations flow smoothly, and that no unnecessary risks occur.  This section of the plan should have provisions for:

  • Describing conditions under which an evacuation should be ordered
  • Developing evacuation procedures for the appropriate options for various hazards
  • Identifying people responsible for ordering an evacuation
  • Providing maps indicating evacuation routes from buildings within the facility
  • Determine areas where different departments and personnel should report after exiting the building
  • Provide for organized head count, and develop system for identifying missing persons
  • Establish system that insures that vital records are evacuated
  • Periodic evacuation drills to ensure that the procedure is working smoothly