Are You Ready? Your Animals Depend on It-Contingency Planning for Collections

Excellence in stewardship for cultural institutions isn’t just putting together an amazing collection. Institutions must do everything in their power to prepare for events that could damage or destroy their collection, and this is especially true when collections include living things! Animals require special considerations in emergencies and disasters, and that starts with contingency planning.

Contingency planning is a process that helps determine the best steps for management and staff to take when an emergency or disaster strikes. A good contingency plan defines objectives to ensure staff and public safety and minimize damage to the collection, living or inanimate, while trying to maintain or re-establish business operations. While a written plan is important, webinar participants will recognize that the planning process is more important than the plan itself!

In this webinar, Dr. Yvonne Nadler, and Ashley Zielinski of the Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Preparedness Response and Recovery Fusion Center (ZAHP Fusion Center) will discuss the evolution of contingency planning for living collections in the exotic animal industry. This process, equally applicable to other collections, is based upon proven Federal Emergency Management Agency recommendations for the planning process.


Yvonne Nadler DVM MPH is the Program Manager for the ZAHP Fusion Center. ZAHP (pronounced “ZAP”) roughly stands for Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Preparedness Response and Recovery Fusion Center. The Center is currently funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. It is designed to be a conduit for information and training opportunities for the wide variety of business types that make up the exotic animal industry. One of the current ZAHP projects is updating guidance information for the regulatory community on Foot-and-Mouth disease management for these unique facilities. Yvonne previously was employed by Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, where she led the Zoo Animal Health Network in disease preparedness programs and surveillance for highly pathogenic avian influenza. While at Lincoln Park, she also organized the Zoo Best Practices Working group for Disaster Preparedness and Contingency Planning. She has developed and conducted several tabletop and virtual exercises for the zoological community. She is currently on the Executive Board of the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP).

Ashley Zielinski is the Program Coordinator for the ZAHP Fusion Center, and works out of the AZA offices in Silver Spring, MD. She has been with ZAHP for over 2 years, and previously worked in city government. Ashley manages the ZAHP website and regular communications, supports the AZA Safety Committee, and works with governmental and non-governmental partners such as the National Animal Rescue Sheltering Coalition (NARSC) of which AZA is a member.

Recorded: Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Duration: 1 Hour 22 minutes


Contingency Planning for Collections – ZAHP PowerPoint Slides


Contingency Planning for Collections Handout