Blue Shield Australia MayDay Campaign

During the month of May, archives, galleries, libraries, museums, cultural heritage sites and organisations across Australia are encouraged to participate in MayDay – a national campaign for the protection of cultural heritage from disaster. Originating in the United States in 2006, the MayDay concept is promoted in Australia by Blue Shield Australia.

MayDay aims to raise awareness about disaster preparedness and to encourage people to perform at least one disaster-preparedness task in May each year. There are many types of emergencies that we can be better prepared for, from the potential impact of faulty electrical wiring in the building next door, to bushfires, cyclones or even internal or external floods.

This May, take at least one of the following steps to prepare your organisation for disaster response:

Dust off your counter-disaster plan and make sure it’s up to date (or make a timeline for developing one).

Download and use a copy of Be Prepared guidelines for writing a disaster preparedness

Update your staff contact information.

Identify and prioritise your important collection items and heritage sites.

Identify the three biggest risks to your collection or heritage site.

Get to know your local fire-fighters and police invite them to tour your organisation to give you pointers on safety and preparedness.

Conduct a building evacuation drill and evaluate the results.

Eliminate hazards such as storage in hallways, blocked fire exits, improper storage of paints, etc.

Make a plan to install any needed safety systems.

Find a ‘partner’ heritage organisation to work with in case of a disaster. A model for collaboration is DIS-ACT:

Provide staff with easily accessible disaster preparedness, response and recovery information.

Arrange or attend emergency response training days on fire-fighting, crowd control, flood water management etc., or
a workshop on disaster preparedness for collections.

Consider the protection offered by your storage facilities and plan to build safer repositories.

Via Blue Shield Australia’s website, share with the cultural heritage sector any lessons your organisation has learned from recent disasters.

Contact Blue Shield Australia’s secretariat at