A vital records program is intended to assist programs in identifying and protecting those records essential to continuing their operations under other than normal business conditions and to protecting the rights of the Government and those individuals directly affected by its actions.

Questions to ask are:

  1. Has the program assessed potential risks to their vital records?
  2. Is the program familiar specified the responsibilities of various program officials?
  3. Has the program designated a vital records point person to coordinate the program's vital records plan?
  4. Has the program identified its vital records, i.e., its emergency operating records and legal rights records?
  5. Does the program periodically review its vital records plan and update it as necessary?
  6. If special media records (such as electronic or microform records) are designated as vital records, have provisions been made for access to the equipment needed to use the records in case of emergency?

For further information, see 36 CFR, Part 1236 - Management of Vital Records; and the NARA publication, "Vital Records and Record Disaster Mitigation and Recovery," and the Tool Kit: Developing and Maintaining a Vital Records Program.