Latin American Consortium

Summary Report: The Workshop for Future Instructors in Emergency Planning
The first training activity of the emergency preparedness working group of the Latin American Consortium was a workshop entitled "Future Instructors in Emergency Plans." It was held in Santiago, Chile, from May 29 to June 3, 2000.

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • train participants in basic knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of emergency preparedness for their application and dissemination;
  • create a model curriculum that could be adapted for various training situations, such as academic programs for conservation students or short-term workshops or courses for conservators and other professionals of cultural institutions;
  • strengthen training experience and explore innovative training strategies (case studies, role playing, interactive exercises, use of the Internet, etc.).

The workshop sessions addressed emergency preparedness for a wide range of natural and human-caused disasters, and presented new educational materials and strategies. The latter included demonstrations and discussions of the Consortium Web site as a communication tool, in addition to information on other resources available on the Internet.

The program included informal lectures and debates, presentations by participants on local, regional, and national related issues, and interactive exercises that took place in the main meeting room and at the Museo Histórico Nacional in Santiago. As part of the program, an emergency drill was staged on the Pontifica Universidad Católica campus, organized and conducted by the Emergency Brigade, a volunteer group of employees from a Santiago television station who participate in emergency response situations and in training activities on preparedness.

The twenty-four participants in the Santiago workshop were selected on the basis of their potential roles in overseeing and teaching emergency preparedness in their institutions and elsewhere in the region. They were nominated for the workshop as two-person teams—each person with different professional expertise. The expertise represented included conservation, archaeology, architecture, engineering, curatorial, museum administration, and fire security.

Sixteen of the participants were from Chile, selected on a regional basis, from seven of the country's thirteen regions. The eight other participants represented other Consortium institutions.

As a condition of acceptance into the workshop, all candidates provided a letter signed by the director of their institution, committing support for them to continue promoting the importance of emergency preparedness, presenting workshops on the topic, and participating in the Consortium network of instructors in emergency preparedness. The workshop instructors included:

  • Wilbur Faulk, senior project manager with the GCI;
  • Valerie Dorge, project specialist and GCI workshop coordinator of the Emergency Planning working group;
  • Barbara Roberts and Jane Hutchins, conservators with considerable experience in emergency preparedness and response training;
  • Flavia Muzio, director, Centro de Estudios de Investigación, Escuela de Arte, Pontificia Universidad Católica;
  • Cecilia Beas, head of Restauración, Escuela de Arte, Pontificia Universidad Católica.

Guest speakers included:

  • Dr. Alberto Maturana Palacias, director of the Oficina Nacional de Emergencia, Departamento de Protección Civil;
  • Commandante Luis Carrasco Garrido, president of the Consejo de Comandantes Región Metropolitana, Bomberos de Chile;
  • Dante Gutiérrez Besa, head of the Proyecto Tsunami, Armada de Chile.

This 6-day event was organized by the GCI and the Escuela de Arte, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, the Consortium's coordinators of activities on this topic. Also collaborating on the workshop were the Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración, the Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, and the Subdirección de Museos (Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archives y Museos), two organizations responsible for cultural patrimony in Chile. These four Chilean organizations have made a long-term commitment to increased emergency preparedness activities for cultural institutions in Chile, and to contributing to related activities of the Latin American Consortium.

In addition, the workshop also received significant support from Fundación Andes, and from Fundación Antorchas, and VITAE.

Future Activities
At the end of the workshop, participants developed a work plan for future activities. To strengthen their emergency planning experience, the group decided that its first joint step would be to develop a draft plan for one institution, the Museo Histórico Nacional, which was the site of one of the workshop's exercises. The members of the group have also taken steps to raise awareness of the need for emergency preparedness on a local, regional, and national basis and have already developed training activities.

The members of this group have communicated informally through an intranet site that allows draft documents and reports to be shared. Members have been able to discuss problems encountered and lessons learned in their own efforts to develop emergency preparedness plans.

Several of the participants from the first workshop will participate as instructors in the follow-up workshop that will be held in 2002. As part of the preparation for this event, a set of text and visual didactic materials will be created; these will form part of the permanent teaching resources of the Consortium.