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Edberg speaks on emergency preparedness for small organizations

Jess Edberg from the Dorothy Molter Museum spoke with the Tuesday Group last week.

by Parker Loew

Jess Edberg from the Dorothy Molter Museum spoke with the Tuesday Group last week about emergency preparedness and why is it so important in Ely.

On top of working at the Dorothy Molter Museum, Edberg is a member of a newly formed group called the Minnesota Alliance for Heritage Responders (MN-AHR).

The goal of the MN-AHR is to be a statewide network of museums, archives, libraries, performing arts organizations, historic preservation groups, and emergency responders dedicated to preparing for and responding to disasters affecting collections and historic properties.

The Dorothy Molter Museum is currently the only organization represented by the MN-AHR.

“I am here to spread the word about what this is, what we do, why it’s important, and why you should care or be involved,” Edberg said.

Edberg said emergency preparedness is especially important in Ely because of how small of a community we are.

“We have very small organizations,” Edberg said. “And I don’t mean small by impact, just physically small compared to others like the St. Louis County Historical Society.”

She said they have minimal staffing and a modest budget which they stick close to which can result in a high risk-to-cost ratio if they experience some kind of disaster.

“With that, it’s really important for small organizations to look forward and plan,” Edberg said.

“In the last 10 years we’ve leaped forward in emergency planning,” Edberg said. “Historically back in the late 90s the amount of small historical organizations that had an emergency plan was around 10%. Now it’s 42%.”

The goal of the MN-AHR is for every small organization to have an emergency plan in place.

“In a disaster emergency response, ideally you are working off your emergency plan where you have taken into consideration what the specific things you would need to do if you get fire damage, water damage, mold damage, etc.”

An emergency plan includes a few things.

“If we have a wildfire creeping up behind us, as we have had recently, we have a list of people who can come and move specific boxes,” Edberg said. “Start taking some time to pencil in your emergency plan.”

Edberg said how you want to get the plan in place, then get supplies to implement your plan, and then be vigilant. The goal you should aim for is mitigation and prevention.

One important asset in emergencies is having an emergency kit on hand.

“In the kit could be things like an N95 mask, a respirator for fires, absorbent pads, soot sponge, and fire blankets,” Edberg said. “The more kits we have in our communities, the more organizations we can help.”

Another important asset is an insurance plan covering all the necessary potential losses.

“The purpose of me being here today was to get you thinking about what you are going to do and how you’re going to do it if a disaster was to happen,” Edberg said.

If you would like more information or resources on how to prepare for potential disasters, visit

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