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Emergency Preparedness: Plans, Tips and Tools

Performing Arts Readiness

Many states and counties have emergency preparedness guides, please research those specific to your area. The following guides can help plan for an emergency and provide resources beyond FEMA to assist you.


Cover Your AssetsFor over a year, IABD has been unknowingly ahead of the curve, trying to spread needed awareness around Emergency Preparedness. We have attended training, provided presentations, workshops, consultations, risks assessments, and developed a much needed comprehensive Emergency Plan template for the arts community. This plan is in its first iteration and a working document; still, it is a clear guide for dance and arts organizations. We are eternally grateful for our partnership with the Performing Arts Readiness Project and the new skill set it provided the IABD organization.

Even as prepared as we thought we were--the Coronavirus pandemic presents challenges no one expected or planned for. Now a simple thing like having a closet full of toilet paper brings us solace and comfort. With the possibility of being shuttered for weeks, maybe months, what can we do and where do we go from here. Fortunately, we can provide some guidance that can be applied immediately as well as long term.


Here is a quick checklist of some specifics that might assist you. 


  1. The Coronavirus / COVID-19 ...Be knowledgeable!
Utilize best practices for safety and protection.


  1. Protective Measures - self and family, staff, dancers, students, parents, etc.
Consider crisis communication and business continuity planning. Work remotely, and keep everyone informed - communicate, communicate communicate.


  1. Staying OPEN - The show must go on but it can’t!
If you consider opening (on the down-low), you are taking unnecessary risks. Please understand you open your business, self, etc. to a lawsuit, and your liability insurance will not cover it.


  1. The Pillars of Emergency Management 
Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, Recovery - This is the time to plan. The formula we advise is also suggested by leading Nonprofit resources such as the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Scenario planning for COVID-19, what are your Plans A, B, C? There are many templates out there for crisis communication and business continuity plans -- however (commercial), if you are an IABD member, we’ve done the leg work and can assist you right now. 


  1. How will the closures impact your livelihood?
Loss of income - we need immediate solutions / short term / long term -- Be Creative there is an overwhelming list of resources to wade through. We are still researching and hope to be able to pinpoint the most critical ones for the dance studio school community. *Give parents and students a minute.


Do you have loss of income insurance? Perhaps this is an excellent time to go to the Performing Arts Readiness website, utilize the webinars, and the loss of income calculator, so when you have to ask for assistance, you will have reliable figures. 


  1. Most importantly, what is your recovery strategy?
Start strategizing now for recovery and what that will mean for yourself, company, studio, and organization. Be vigilant -- new information is coming out everyday -- stay informed. You have contracts and contractual agreements that will need to be renegotiated. Costumes have been ordered, venues selected possibly paid for, guest choreographers and artists secured, performance tours, and more. Take this time to work through everything that’s in play and come up with a solid plan of action. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.


  1. RESOURCES --- Highlight a couple of resources
Please visit our COVID-19 website as well as others for a lengthy list of resources. Also, if you don’t want to go down the rabbit hole, use the almighty GOOGLE, which knows all, but you must be specific.
We found the Chronicle for Philanthropy article Responding to the Coronavirus very useful, also Dance Magazine’s article on  How Dancers and Dance Organizations [and other performing arts] Can Prepare for the Financial Fallout of COVID-19.
Also, the Informational Papers from the Task Force on Dancer Health provide resources regarding issues of health and wellness for the professional dancer. These papers are written as brief educational overviews on topics important in the professional dance community. These papers are meant to help guide and inform the dancer, and are not meant to take the place of the advice of a medical professional. * All of the papers listed are under the auspices of the Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health*


Contact Carol Foster, Special Program Associate, PAR Circuit Rider, for more information regarding Emergency Preparedness.


For more information:

This program is funded through a grant by Lyrasis with financial support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.