Emergency Kit Survey

As part of the PRICE Logistics Action Team, Melissa designed and implemented a pan-institutional survey at the Smithsonian of emergency kits designated for collection emergencies. There were several goals for the survey:

  • To create a unified inventory list for all of the Smithsonian’s collection locations that will ultimately be integrated within ArcGIS mapping software. This dataset could serve the entire institution if additional supplies were ever needed in emergencies.
  • To consider the possibility of bulk ordering supplies for common items to reduce overall costs.
  • To compile the results from the survey into a document that would help readers understand the current status of collection emergency kit management across the institution, while also creating a snapshot of the variety of supplies contained within them.

Prior to starting the survey, Melissa received training in human-based research and had her research plan reviewed by a Smithsonian compliance officer. Over the course of two months, Melissa interviewed 31 different Smithsonian employees directly responsible for emergency kits in their respective units (see Figure 1 for the participating Smithsonian units). Most of the interviews were completed in-person at various Smithsonian museums and storage facilities.


  1. Melissa completed in-person interviews regarding kit management and captured survey question responses within SurveyMonkey.
  2. Emergency kit contents were collected into a singular inventory CSV file.
  3. The inventory list data was cleaned up using OpenRefine to standardize kit content names and to categorize the contents into one of the following:
    1. Absorbent materials
    2. Container
    3. Documentation
    4. Instructional documents
    5. PPE/Personal safety
    6. Salvage/recovery
    7. Scene safety/clean-up
    8. Tools
  4. Once cleaned up, data visualizations for the master inventory list were created with Microsoft Excel
  5. Results from the verbal survey and data visualizations from the inventory list were compiled into a formal report

Project Deliverables

  • Final report of the survey (for Smithsonian use only)
  • Final report of the survey (to be shared widely to the public) – CLICK HERE
  • 11×14 poster as a quick reference of the survey results – CLICK HERE
  • Print-at-home quick reference brochure of the survey results – CLICK HERE