When there is a fire, or a flood, or any form of crisis, what to save first is a critical question. Emergency responders and heritage staff need quick clear directions to take the most important items in a collection to safety. That’s why ICOM-Austria and Blue Shield Austria, with the support of Blue Shield International, have developed a special tag to clearly and consistently mark objects that should be saved first from storage, making it easier for organizations and evacuation teams responding in crisis to find and rescue them in an emergency.
The tag marks objects that should be evacuated as a priority, and is easy to see thanks to its highly reflective surface. The design and all guidance is available open access online – as long as it is used in accordance with the rules for international emblems.
The blue shield distinctive emblem is a protective symbol used during armed conflicts. Its use is regulated at all times by national law, international humanitarian law, and customary law, through the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and its Second Protocol of 1999.
The tag was developed in coordination with the Austrian Emergency-Platform for Museums and Libraries and the Historical Monuments Office under the conditions of the Austrian Federal Fire Brigade Association. It will be used in all museums in Austria: many regional responders have already undergone training and exercises.
The website also provides guidance for prioritizing collections and for evacuating them safely.
Get the details on the ICOM Austria website
Looking for resources on evacuation and safeguarding? See our Library
Visit the website of Blue Shield Austria
Learn more about the 1954 Hague Convention in our Law Library