Response and Recovery Resources

Learn about saving your family treasures and salvaging historic properties here.

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.

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Respond to an Emergency

Recommended Wildfire Resources for Cultural Heritage Organizations – NEW!
Compiled by NEDCC staff and the Train-the-Trainer cohort associated with the California County-Wide Emergency Preparedness Courses, October 2020. Pages 3-5 deal with how to respond to a collection damaged by fire. Pages 1-2 provide preparedness and preventive measures. Updated September 2021. (Northeast Document Conservation Center)

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)

Water Segment from the Field Guide to Emergency Response
A 10 minute video demonstrating 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
Describes 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+)

Mold-Damaged Artwork: DIY Salvage Techniques for Studio Artists
A 10 minute video demonstrating 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)

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Get Professional Advice

National Heritage Responders
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)
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 RAP link above 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)

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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)

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Get Funding to Aid Your Recovery

NCAPER’s Arts Field Guide to Federal Disaster Relief – NEW!
Created to help demystify federal disaster relief for the arts and culture sector; it aims to help artists and organizations see what’s available, understand clearly what isn’t available, and decide if pursuing federal aid is a good use of time.

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.

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.

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.

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Explore Additional Resources

Provides useful links to recovery guidance and aid for artists and arts organizations.

Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA)
Provides technical bulletins for disaster and emergency resources 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.

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.

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