Summer RRN Newsletter
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Rapid Response Network Newsletter

Please share this email with colleagues in your organisation, it contains useful links for the RRN and will help to make more people aware of the important resources provided by the network.
Please share this email with colleagues in your organisation, it contains useful links for the RRN and will help to make more people aware of the important resources provided by the network.
Hello and welcome to the Summer Rapid Response Network newsletter,
The lovely weather we have at the moment is a welcome rest from inclement conditions which can present a risk to collections, however now is a good time to prepare and make sure your organisation knows what to do in an emergency.
The RRN kit and training is there for members to prepare for such obstacles and hopefully minimise damage to collections.
We hope that you won't need to use the kits, but if you do you can find all of the member information on our website

Thank you for supporting the RRN; we couldn't function without your important memberships.
RRN Committee


The members voted at the Annual General Meeting in May to keep the current subscription levels unchanged. You should all have received your subscription request for 2014-15 so a gentle reminder to all those yet to respond as we rely solely on subs to keep the RRN going. A new framework based on the scalability model of the nationally recognised Accreditation standards for museums and archives was also agreed and will be introduced in future.

Free emergency App

Heritage Preservation’s slide-chart emergency response and salvage wheel (original available from Preservation Equipment Ltd) is now available as a free app. It features practical salvage tips for nine types of collections found in museums, archives and libraries and is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.  Requires iOS 5.1 or later. Go to for links to download the app to your mobile.

Training News

Conservators Dale and Pam Keeton, have kindly offered to run a kit familiarisation and live salvage scenario training exercise at our Shipley Store around mid to late September. Dale promises a ‘hands on journey of discovery’ for all involved. Numbers will be limited to 10 or 12. Dates will be circulated soon.

Committee news

Members voted at the Annual General Meeting in May to retain the current committee. Sharon Connell remains as Chair and Suzanne Dalewicz-Kitto replaces our longstanding Treasurer, Rosemary Preece. We would like to thank Rosemary warmly for her sterling work over the years and wish Suzanne all the best in her new role.

Website news

Philip Walton, our webmaster, has been on hiatus of late so we hope you’ll join the committee in wishing him well for a speedy return to work.

Archive Accreditation

Special Collections at the University of Bradford is the first service in an English university to be awarded Archive Accreditation.  This new standard recognises archive services which offer a high level of service, take proper care of their collections and which are financially sustainable and properly supported by their parent bodies.  It is based on Museum Accreditation which many of you will know very well.
Our premises are not ideal for collections and there are significant risks of water damage.  Being an RRN member helped us to create a successful application despite this.  We could prove that we have taken measures to protect collections and to limit the impact of any water incidents: we have had a great deal of training and support via the RRN and we know we can call on the extra kit if need be.  I have also found networking with conservators and museum people helpful in widening our understanding of the heritage sector in Yorkshire.
Our accreditation was provisional because of our building problems.  The award has helped us to make the case for these improvements and to raise our profile within our organisation.  I think it was well worth doing and am happy to discuss our experience of archive accreditation with anyone thinking about applying.
Alison Cullingford
University of Bradford

Below is a lovely image from the newly Accredited Special Collections at Bradford

Meet the member
Dale Keeton, Bradford Museums and Galleries

Tales of the unexpected

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have planned for disasters. A calm and considered response to a tropical downpour that turns our cellar stores into a swimming pool or a well orchestrated, rehearsed team effort following the spontaneous fire you knew would happen one day.
But the real disasters are the ones that never cross your mind, the ones that blindside you first thing in the morning. These are the ones that the RRN network and depots of kit are invaluable for dealing with.
Imagine a drizzly, cloudy early morning outside an Art Gallery in Yorkshire. The attendant staff have opened the back door but the roller shutter is refusing to budge. The motor that raise the shutter refuses to work and the shutter steadfastly remains drawn.  This definitely isn’t covered in the disaster plan!  A long standing member of staff recalls how ‘we did it in the old days’ before the motor was installed. Problem solved, shutter raised and into the building.
Once in the building it becomes apparent why the shutter motor refused to work – the building is in the middle of a power cut. The warren of subterranean corridors and backstairs are in pitch darkness, preventing staff  from safely opening up. Emergency lighting and power are need urgently and this is where the RRN emergency kit steps in.

A mobile phone call later and the RRN’s generator, Gazebo, extension cables and mobile lighting rigs are on route. The generator is set up outside the building under the gazebo, extension cables run into the building and the lighting rig set up.

This enables the building to be opened up and the cause of the power cut to be investigated. It also alternately runs a kettle (a vital piece of kit) and charges mobile phones for the many ensuing calls.

The cause of the power cut is found - an underground mains cable in the park has shorted and its replacement returns the building to tranquillity.
Lessons learned? A disaster plan will never cover everything, expected the unexpected, warm drinks on a drizzly day improve brain function, you never have enough torches or  torch batteries, old guys rule and of course the RRN is the most important tool in a disaster response kit.


The RRN is about working co-operatively and sharing experience for the benefit of all members. ‘Meet the Membership’ is a chance for you to share news of emergency planning developments or innovations or anything else you think members would be interested to hear. Don’t wait to be invited! Please send your submissions for future newsletters to:

Keep in touch!

Don't forget our Twitter account is @YorksRRN.   Please follow us or mention us to colleagues who tweet.  NB This account isn’t for use in emergency – we’ll only be looking at it during working hours!
Alison Cullingford, University of Bradford (@speccollbrad).
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