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In October 2008, the second Teamwork for Integrated Emergency Management (TIEM) course was completed. This course, which focused on Southeastern Europe (SEE), is a collaboration of the GCI, ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), and ICOM (the International Council of Museums). As part of ICOM's Museums Emergency Program (MEP), this education initiative addressed the safeguarding of museums from the effects of natural and human-caused disasters (see Conservation, vol. 19, no. 2).

The three-phase course began in November 2007 with a two-week introductory workshop (phase one) in the World Heritage Site of Ohrid, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Professionals from nine southeastern European countries participated in the workshop, where they were introduced to TIEM concepts, including disaster risk assessment, disaster mitigation, emergency preparedness and response, recovery and rehabilitation, and the writing of an emergency plan. At the end of the workshop, participants from each institution prepared an action plan to guide the practical implementation of integrated emergency management in their institutions.

The course's second phase occurred over the ensuing nine months, while the course participants worked in their own institutions. During this period, they submitted monthly reports to instructors describing their progress. Instructors functioned as mentors, providing constructive feed-back and moral support. During this mentoring phase, all museums created an emergency planning committee and assigned staff members to emergency response teams—a fundamental step in implementing a TIEM approach in emergency preparedness. The museums also contacted their local emergency response units to establish the chain of command in preparation for an emergency.

In October the group reconvened in Croatia for a final meeting (phase three), which was organized with the generous support of ICOM and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (BRESCE) in Venice. The meeting took place at the Peasants' Revolt Museum in the Manor House in Gornja Stubica, part of the regional museum Muzeji Hrvatskog zagorja. Its objectives were to review the museums' action plans and implementation during the distance mentoring phase; to share achievements and challenges encountered in implementation; to share further information and knowledge in key areas; to identify tools, procedures and/or information generated by the participants that could be widely disseminated within and beyond the SEE region; to discuss networking challenges; and to devise future strategies for TIEM-SEE.

The meeting included a visit to the Old Village Museum of Hrvatsko Zagorje, Croatia, where the group participated in an unannounced emergency exercise. A simulated fire in one of the historic houses was effectively addressed by the local fire brigade and by museum staff, who demonstrated that the implementation of TIEM in their organization had prepared them to respond successfully to this emergency.

This second MEP-TIEM course demonstrated that the TIEM methodology can be effectively transferred to another region, provided that region-specific risks are taken into consideration. The project partners hope that the TIEM courses will build sustainable emergency preparedness in each region. To this end, participants from the TIEM-SEE course came up with several ideas to foster their new relationships with other institutions, and they worked together to develop a strategy for sustaining the regional network beyond the course.

For more information on Teamwork for Integrated Emergency Management, visit the project Web site.