Records Managers

Vital Records and Records Disaster Mitigation and Recovery: An Instructional Guide

Appendix E. Self-Evaluation Guide

1999 Web Edition



This checklist reflects NARA regulations and recommended practices for the development and implementation of Federal records disaster mitigation and records recovery programs. Federal agencies may find it useful in evaluating their records management procedures for vital records.

Contingency Planning

1. Have appropriate agency personnel, including the records officer, program officials, the emergency coordinator, facilities managers, IRM officials, and safety/security personnel, assessed the potential risks to the agency's operations and records?

2. Has the agency determined which of its functions are most critical and would need to be continued if an emergency or disaster struck the agency?

3. Has the agency identified those functions or activities that most impact the rights of the agency and the individuals directly affected by its actions?

Vital Records Program

4. Has the agency prepared and disseminated written information to appropriate agency staff, describing the vital records program, including the responsibilities of various agency officials?

5. Has the agency assigned an official responsibility for managing the vital records program and coordinating it with other appropriate officials?

6. Have liaison officers been delegated responsibility for implementing the program in the agency's field offices?

7. Has the agency identified its vital records, i.e., its emergency operating records and records needed to protect legal and financial rights?

8. Does the agency make copies of the vital records for offsite storage?

9. Does the agency store duplicates at a remote location not subject to the same fire or other risks (such as high-risk geographic areas prone to flooding or earthquakes) present in storage areas where original records are kept?

10. Are agency personnel trained in their vital records responsibilities?

11. Does the agency conduct a periodic review of its vital records plan and update it to ensure that it is current, complete, and usable in case of emergency?

12. If special records (such as electronic information systems or microform records) are designated as vital records, have provisions been made for access to the equipment needed to use the records in the event of an emergency?

Records Protection

13. Has the agency established protective measures for all its records?

14. Has the agency given special attention to the protection of its vital records, regardless of the media on which these are maintained?

Records Recovery Program

15. Has the agency prepared a written issuance establishing a records recovery program and disseminated it to appropriate agency staff?

16. Has the agency designated an official responsible for the records recovery program?

17. Has the agency designated a records recovery team?

18. Has the records recovery team been trained?

19. Has the agency developed a list of records recovery consultants and reviewed it periodically for accuracy?

20. Does the agency maintain supplies and equipment required to recover records damaged in an emergency or disaster?

21. Does the agency conduct a periodic review of the records recovery plan and update it as necessary?


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Vital Records and Records Disaster Mitigation and Recovery, National Archives and Records Administration Instructional Guide Series, College Park, MD (1996), 90 pp.

Note: Web version may vary from the printed version.

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