Before the Storm - Protecting Family Treasures
As the 2019 hurricane season intensifies for its peak activity, personal safety comes first. (See https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes) But if you have time, protect your family treasures by following NEDCC's advice:
- Move your collections of personal photos and family heirlooms away from windows and doors. Placing them in boxes, even temporarily during the storm, will add a layer of protection, and will make them easier to handle.
- Raise collections of photos and documents off of the floor to protect them from flood damage. Drape plastic sheeting or tarps over collections to protect from ceiling leaks.
- Plan ahead for easy access to your collections so that immediately following a storm—after people and property are secured—you can inspect your family treasures for damage.
- Be sure to look inside fire safes; although these are fireproof, they are often not waterproof.
- See NEDCC's Preservation Leaflets on Emergency Management for what to do if items are wet, or call the NEDCC 24/7 Collections Emergency Hotline at (855) 245-8303.
- Plan for easy access to fans. Using fans to circulate the air inside your home will help control the heat and humidity that can cause mold to grow.
- Save copies of digital files online in Cloud storage. Make sure you have a recent backup of important files like family photos.
- Running out of time? Snap cell phone photos of precious items and email the photos to yourself so that you can retrieve them later.
RESOURCES FOR Saving Collections After Disasters
AFTER A STORM - 24/7 ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE
NEDCC Collections Emergency Hotline:
NEDCC is available to take calls from institutions with collections damage, as well as private individuals whose family collections are damaged. The number to call during business hours (8:30-4:30 Eastern) is 978-470-1010. The number to call after hours (also answered during the day) is 855-245-8303. You can also email HERE or firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Institute for Conservation - National Heritage Responders:
The National Heritage Responders (NHR) is a highly skilled team of conservators and other collections care professionals with expertise in emergency response. All assistance provided by the NHR is free, funded by grants and generous donations to the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation. NHR members are available to provide advice to individuals as well as advice and on-site response to institutions. (NHR members do not normally provide on-site assistance to individuals, although it may be possible to do so in conjunction with other collections in an affected region.) Call the hotline (202.661.8068) to request assistance.
LEARN MORE HERE
AFTER A FIRE
FEMA: After the Fire: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Collections
FAIC's Field Guide to Emergency Response: How to Handle and Clean Soot-Damaged Items
AFTER A HURRICANE OR FLOOD
NEDCC Preservation Leaflets
- Emergency Salvage of Wet Books and Records
- Emergency Salvage of Wet Photographs
- Emergency Salvage of Moldy Books and Paper
FEMA Fact Sheet: “After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures” (available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese)
Salvaging CDs and DVDs – National Archives (Click ‘OK’ to open file)
Salvaging VHS tapes and other magnetic media
Documentation and insurance claims: From FEMA, guidance on documenting and filing claims: How Do I Start My Flood Claim?
FIND A CONSERVATOR
The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) provides a How to Choose a Conservator guide that explains how to work with a professional conservator, as well as a Find a Conservator directory to help you identify conservators in your area.