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Council of State Archivists (CoSA)


Protecting Our Nation's Essential Records

Records identify who we are, secure our rights, and tell our story as a nation.

The Council of State Archivists launched its Emergency Preparedness Initiative in 2005 to raise awareness about the importance of records and protect them from the kinds of devastating losses inflicted by Hurricane Katrina.

Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records (IPER) Project

IPER ProjectThe primary focus of CoSA's emergency preparedness and response efforts since October 2007 has been the FEMA-funded Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records (IPER) project. Through this $2.6 million program, CoSA has developed and delivered training to more than 3,000 state and local government employees nationwide, trained more than 150 instructors to deliver the courses via the Web, and created an online resource center where governments and individuals can find tools and advice to aid in both preparedness and recovery.
More about IPER >>

EPI Products and Tools

IPER was a direct outgrowth of the research and analysis that CoSA conducted during the first two years of Emergency Preparedness Initiative, 2005-2007, which pinpointed education and training as the most significant gap in readiness for state and local government records.

EPI ReportSafeguarding a Nation's Identity. This report to the President, Congress, Governors, and State Legislatures of the United States on the readiness of state archives to protect records that identify who we are, secure our rights, and tell our story as a nation. Its Executive Summary is a valuable tool in raising awareness

Why Records Matter. This concise explanation of the critical roles that records play in the lives of institutions, communities, and individuals has become the centerpiece of much of CoSA's emergency preparedness work. We have condensed the message into a bookmark to make it easy to spread the word.

PReP envelopeThe Pocket Response Plan (PReP) is a basic preparedness document that can fit in your wallet. Many state and local governments, colleges and universities, libraries and other cultural institutions now use it. Templates suitable for a variety of repositories are available to collect and maintain the most critical information needed to respond to any kind of emergency, including key contacts, designated roles and responsibilities, and suppliers of essential goods and services.

Rescuing Family Records manualRescuing Records manuals. David Carmicheal compiled two manuals -- Rescuing Family Records and Rescuing Business Records -- that extend CoSA's preparedness efforts into our communities. Each is available for purchase from CoSA

Proceeds from the sales of PReP envelopes and Rescuing Records manuals help support CoSA's ongoing Emergency Preparedness Initiative.

Other emergency preparedness and recovery resources

Resources in State Archives. State archivists and records managers have long recognized the need for emergency planning. They have championed the identification and protection of records essential for ongoing government operations as well as those that document our nation's rich cultural heritage.

Resources available from state archives for emergency planning and response

Recovery from water damage

MayDay. Each year, on May 1st, archives nationwide "take personal and professional responsibility for doing something simple—something that can be accomplished in a day but that can have a significant impact on an individual’s or a repository’s ability to respond."

Suggestions for what you and your repository can do for MayDay >>


Photos and stories from disasters that affected records

Response to 2005 hurricanes and other disasters

The CoSA Emergency Preparedness Initiative was developed in response to the devastating hurricanes of 2005. CoSA leaders visited Mississippi and Louisiana in September and November of that year. In April 2006, CoSA convened a "Hurricane Conference" that focused not only on what states in the southeastern U.S. could do to prepare for the next emergency, but what ALL state archives and records management programs must do to protect archives and records in their states.

Visits to Mississippi & Louisiana, Fall 2005

View reports and photos from these trips.

CoSA Hurricane Conference, April 18-20, 2006. Morrow GA

Press release about the Hurricane Conference, April 18-20,
a central activity of Phase One.

Photos from earlier disasters affecting government records.





Last updated: October 15, 2014