Disaster Preparedness & Response Resources
In support of organizations that find themselves in the path of a potential disaster we have compiled a
list of resources to help you prepare and recover.
The American Institute for Conservation’s National Heritage Responders provides 24/7 remote assistance to cultural institutions. Call 202-661-8068 for advice and referrals. NHR also offers tip sheets on response and recovery.
Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF) works to protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies. Report damage to your museum at firstname.lastname@example.org. This helps the Task Force coordinate federal agencies in responding to your needs.
The Regional Alliance for Preservation members each offer emergency assistance by phone:
- LYRASIS: 800-999-8558
- Balboa Art Conservation Center: 619-236-9702
- Conservation Center for Art and Historical Artifacts: 215-545-0613
- Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center: 402-595-1178
- Intermuseum Conservation Association: 216-658-8700
- Midwest Art Conservation Center: 612-870-3120
- Northeast Document Conservation Center Collections Emergency Hotline: 855-245-8303
- TX-CERA (Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance): 202-661-8068
- Williamstown Art Conservation Center: 413-458-5741. After business hours: 413-458-9545, ext. 212
- Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Service: 888-905-7737
The Northeast Document Conservation Center recommends these companies for disaster remediation services, including water removal, transportation, drying, and freezing. They can be reached 24/7.
The FEMA Federal Disaster Declarations website has information about which counties are included in designated disaster areas and are therefore eligible for federal disaster assistance. FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide provides an overview of the process with links to other publications and documents with additional details.
Online Recovery Guides
- The Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel app has practical advice for saving collections in the first 48 hours after disaster strikes.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a fact sheet: After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures.
- The Library of Congress Preservation Directorate offers Emergency Drying Procedures for Water Damaged Collections. It has concise information that covers the air-drying of paper, books, and photographs as well as recovery from mold.
- The National Park Service (NPS) offers After the Flood: Emergency Stabilization and Conservation Measures. It suggests planning methods to prevent additional damage to historic structures and to maintain historical integrity.
- The NPS also provides a Rapid Building and Site Condition Assessment form. Use it to quickly assess conditions; it has an emphasis on historic structures. Instructions on using the form and definitions are also available.
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation provides Treatment of Flood-Damaged Older & Historic Buildings. It discusses cleaning out mud, foundation problems, caring for wet plaster, treatment for saturated wood-framed walls and floors, and treatment for historic wallpapers and interior finishes.
- The Western Association for Art Conservation offers Salvage at a Glance. The chart outlines priorities, handling precautions, packing, and drying methods for archival materials
- AAM’s Developing a Disaster Preparedness/Emergency Response Plan reference guide can help guide staff in creating and approving a disaster plan.
- The Council of State Archivists has developed a Pocket Response Plan (PReP) to help staff note necessary information following a disaster. It is intended to be customized for each institution and individual staff member.
- Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF) shares Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Cultural Institutions.
- The International Council of Museums shares Guidelines for Disaster Preparedness in Museums. The guide provides information on roles and responsibilities, emergency response tips, regular disaster mitigation techniques, and emergency communications. (PDF, 26 pages).
- The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides information on Natural Hazards and their potential threats to society, and assists with developing smart, cost-effective strategies for achieving preparedness and resilience.