Response and Recovery Resources

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Top Emergency Response Resources

FEMA Fact Sheets. Download FEMA’s “After the Flood," "After the Fire," and “Salvaging Water-Damaged Family Valuables and Heirlooms” fact sheets – advice for salvaging damaged family treasures, with tips and resources for both individuals and institutions.

National Heritage Responders. Keep this hotline number handy: 202.661.8068. The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained conservators and collections care professionals, are available 24/7 to provide guidance to cultural institutions on the salvage of collections.

Regional Alliance for Preservation. RAP is a national network of nonprofit organizations with expertise in the field of conservation and preservation. Individual member organizations offer free emergency advice, many on a 24/7 basis. Click on the link to locate your nearest organization.

Find a Conservator. If a valuable or important item is badly damaged or has been exposed to contaminated water, a professional conservator may be able to help salvage it. Identify and locate professional conservation services using this free tool provided by the American Institute for Conservation.

ERS: Emergency Response and Salvage app. Download the free app that outlines critical stages of disaster response and provides practical salvage tips for nine types of objects, from photographs, books, and documents to textiles and furniture.

Respond to an Emergency

The ERS: Emergency Response and Salvage app out­lines critical stages of disaster response and provides prac­tical salvage tips for nine types of objects, from photo­graphs to textiles to furniture. Available free of charge for Apple, Android, and BlackBerry devices. Based on the original Wheel (see next entry). (Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation)

Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel, a slide chart that contains action steps on one side and salvage steps on the other. Also available in Spanish. (Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation)

A 10-minute video, “Water Segment from the Field Guide to Emergency Response,” demonstrates how to rescue soaked photographs, books, documents, and other valued items.  (Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation)

What To Do If Collections Get Wet (for collecting institutions). Covers first actions, how to air dry collections, freezing materials, dealing with mold and smoke and soot, and dealing with other contamination. Includes a response video. (Library of Congress)

Salvage Procedures for Wet Items. Covers archaeological artifacts, photographs and transparencies, scrapbooks, textiles, wood, and more. (Minnesota Historical Society)

Conserve O Grams. Short, focused leaflets about caring for museum objects. See Section 21 on Disaster Response and Recovery, especially the “Salvage at a Glance” series. (Museum Management Program, National Park Service, Department of the Interior)

Records Emergency Information. How to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies affecting governmental and cultural property records. (National Archives and Records Administration)

Records Recovery Vendors. Contact information for companies experienced in recovering collection materials. Note caveats and disclaimers. (National Archives and Records Administration)

Disaster Recovery for Films in Flooded Areas. Practical and useful information on recovering film after a flood. (Association of Moving Image Archivists) 

Studio Protector’s Online Guide. Information to help artists address health and safety, salvage, cleanup, and obtain disaster relief. (Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artists’ Emergency Resources, or CERF+)

A ten-minute video, “Mold-Damaged Artwork: DIY Salvage Techniques for Studio Artists,” demonstrates simple triage and salvage procedures to stop or prevent a mold outbreak on paper, canvas, textiles, and wood. (CERF+)

Essential Guidelines for Arts Responders Organizing in the Aftermath of Disaster: How to Help and Support Your Local Artists, Arts-related Small Businesses, and Arts Organizations.” A primer for state and local arts councils, arts service organizations, community foundations, and other nonprofit groups. (National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response)

Get Professional Advice

The Foundation of the American Institute for Conserva­tion’s emergency response team, the National Heritage Responders, offers a free 24/7 emer­gency hotline that provides guidance to cultural institutions on the salvage of collections: 202-661-8068

Regional Alliance for Preservation (RAP) is a national network of nonprofit organizations with expertise in the field of preservation. Individual member organizations offer free emergency advice, many on a 24/7 basis. Click on the link to locate your nearest organization.

Find a Conservator. If a valuable or important item is badly damaged or has been exposed to contaminated water, a professional conservator may be able to help salvage it. Identify and locate professional conservation services using this tool. (American Institute for Conservation)

Protect Your Health

Returning Home After a Disaster: Be Healthy and Safe. Safety tips that include cleaning your home and stopping mold, protecting yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning, keeping drinking water and food safe, and preventing electrical injuries. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Emergency Response Resources: Storm, Flood, and Hurricane Response. Workers and volunteers involved with flood cleanup should be aware of the potential dangers involved and the proper safety precautions. (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

Storm/Flood and Hurricane/Typhoon Response. Information intended to help employers and workers prepare in advance for anticipated response activities, and to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses in the field once rescue, recovery, and clean-up begin. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Traumatic Incident Stress. Simple methods to recognize, monitor, and maintain health on-site and following a traumatic incident. (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

Tips for Retaining and Caring for Staff after a Disaster. General practices – categorized by immediate and short-term needs – for facility executives to consider when trying to retain and care for staff after a disaster. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Get Funding to Aid Your Recovery

FEMA Fact Sheet on Public Assistance. A brief overview of the program that provides grants to local, county, state, territorial, and federally recognized tribal governments and certain private nonprofit entities to assist them in responding to and recovering from disasters.

Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide. The comprehensive, consolidated program and policy document. See especially the sections discussing private nonprofit organizations and facilities. (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Value of Volunteer Time. The dollar amount of volunteer time spent assisting an organization in response and recovery activities can be put toward an organization’s cost share in the Public Assistance Program. Keep meticulous records and click on the state profiles portal link to find the value of volunteer time in your state. (Independent Sector)

U.S. Small Business Administration. The federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA’s disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Beyond Words℠. Dollar General, in collaboration with the American Library Association, the American Association of School Librarians, and the National Education Association, sponsors a school library disaster relief fund for public school libraries in the states served by Dollar General. The fund provides grants to public schools whose school library program has been affected by a disaster. Grants are to replace or supplement books, media, and/or library equipment in the school library setting.

The National Disaster Recovery Fund, established by the Society of Southwest Archivists and the Society of American Archivists, provides grants that support the recovery of archival collections from major disasters.

CERF+ Emergency Fund. CERF+ emergency relief assistance to professional artists includes grants, no-interest loans, access to resources, waivers and discounts on booth fees, and donations of craft supplies and equipment. See also CERF+ Response to Louisiana Flooding.

The Cora Brown Fund helps address disaster-related unmet needs, including assistance to self-employed persons (with no employees) – such as professional artists – to re-establish their businesses.

Salvage a Historic Property

Information for Owners of Damaged Buildings Following a Disaster. Multiple online resources to assist historic property owners in recovering from a natural disaster. (North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office)

Treatment of Flood-Damaged Older and Historic Buildings. Written to help building owners minimize structural and cosmetic flood damage in a wide variety of buildings with varying degrees of flood damage. (National Trust for Historic Preservation)

Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery for Owners of Historic Properties. Comprehensive pre- and post-hurricane checklists. (Historic Charleston)

Flooding and Historic Buildings. Although written for an English audience, much of the content still applies to historic buildings regardless of their location. (Historic England)

Save Your Family Treasures

After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures. Tips and resources for individuals and institutions. Also available in Spanish and in Vietnamese. (Heritage Emergency National Task Force)

A 10-minute video, “Water Segment from the Field Guide to Emergency Response,” demonstrates how to rescue soaked photographs, books, documents, and other valued items.  (Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation)

Disaster Recovery for Films in Flooded Areas. Practical and useful information on recovering film after a flood. (Association of Moving Image Archivists)

Find a Conservator. If a valuable or important item is badly damaged or has been exposed to contaminated water, a professional conservator may be able to help salvage it. Identify and locate professional conservation services using this tool. (American Institute for Conservation)

Preparation and Recovery: After a Flood. A checklist for beginning to restore your home. (National Flood Insurance Program)

Flood Recovery Booklet. Contains information and helpful tips on safety, cleaning your home, cleaning and stabilizing important family documents and memorabilia, and where and how to find additional assistance. (Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium)

Repairing Your Family Home. Step-by-step advice for cleaning up, rebuilding, and getting help after a flood. (American Red Cross and FEMA)

Family and Home Disaster Information Resources Series. Publications designed to help Louisiana (and other states’) residents recover from floods, storms, extended power outages, and other stressful and dangerous events. (Louisiana State University Agricultural Center)

Explore Additional Resources

ArtsReady provides Useful Links to guidance and aid for artists and arts organizations. Scroll down to the Recovery heading.

The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) provides Disaster and Emergency Resources, technical bulletins that address disaster recovery needs integral to operating any collection-holding institution.

The LYRASIS Disaster Response and Recovery page provides links to resources by type of damage and type of material, and to disaster recovery services and supplies, disaster aid, and other organizations and agencies.

The Northeast Document Conservation (NEDCC) provides Preservation Leaflets with information on a wide variety of preservation topics and links to additional resources. See Section 3 on Emergency Management.