Disaster preparedness and response

Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance

A disaster resource database, originally built from the Philadelphia Area Emergency Resources List compiled by Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) with funding from The William Penn Foundation. The original design of this site was by the Preservation Department of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University. The database information is maintained by Michigan State University Libraries and the California Preservation Program. Many other institutions and individuals have also contributed to the success of this website, providing information on suppliers and services for disaster recovery.

This site is now hosted and maintained by FAIC as a component of Conservation OnLine (CoOL). Experts in many arenas of material culture conservation have also contributed to this site and can provide assistance in the event of a disaster.

See also Commercial Services
For post-disaster data recovery services and electroncic equipment repair see Commercial data recovery services

Hurricane Katrina Emergency information and Resources
Health & Safety

Resources listed by organization/author
Disaster Plans
Case histories
Other documents
Other disaster/emergency resources
Professional Organizations and Certification

Resources listed by Organization/Author

A Primer on Disaster Preparedness, Management and Response: Paper-Based Materials (links verified 26 Aug 2015)

Selected Reprints issued by
Smithsonian Institution,
National Archives and Records Administration,
Library of Congress,
and National Park Service
Trudy Huskamp Peterson
Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution Staff Disaster Preparedness Procedures, prepared by Office of Risk Management, October 1992, revised, October 1993

See also Smithsonian Institution Archives below

Emergency Salvage of Flood Damaged Family Papers, August 1993
Peter Waters, The Library of Congress
Procedures for Salvage of Water Damaged Library Materials, extracts from unpublished revised text, July 1993
National Park Service
Mold and Mildew: Prevention of Microorganism Growth In Museum Collections

Alaska State Museum

Ellen Carlee
Fire Suppression Systems. Conservation Report, Ellen Carrlee for the Alaska State Museum, May 2008 (link verified 26 Aug 2015)

"Summary Recommendations: Due to the challenges we have with various systems in this building (computers, pipes, power outages etc.,) the asbestos issue, the degree to which we strive to be prepared for water emergencies, and the limits of technical assistance in Juneau, a wet pipe system is recommended for the ASM collections storage. Luckily, it is one of the least expensive fire suppression systems on the market, so it would be wise to pursue the best quality product and installation we can. We may want to consider the possibility of a VESDA system for smoke detection. Comparisons of various systems [are] listed"

American Institute for Conservation (AIC)

National Collections Emergency News

"The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) established this website to provide a centralized repository of news and other information useful or those involved in efforts to preserve cultural material impacted by the hurricane as well as related health and safety issues."

Emergency Committee
AIC Disaster Response and Recovery Page
The AIC Cultural Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) is a team of trained conservators prepared to deploy in the event of a disaster and capable of coming in to an institution and provide advice and damage assessment. AIC-CERT responds to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors and the public. Volunteers can provide advice and referrals by phone at the number above.
AIC Find A Conservator tool

Australian National Botanic Gardens

ANBG's A Disaster Recovery Plan for The Australian National Herbarium, Canberra link verified 9/1/2015
Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA)
What to Do About Your Home Movie Damage link verified 8/31/2015

The Bishop Museum

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Works of Art on Paper link verified 26 Aug 2015)

California Preservation Clearinghouse (CPC) (links verified 26 Aug 2015)

CPC's Emergency Preparedness & Response section offers a Pocket Response Plan for Collections, a Generic Disaster Plan Workbook, a Library Disaster Plan Template, information on running a Disaster Plan Exercise, etc.

Global Museum

Disaster News Real-time news 24 x 7 (links verified 26 Apr 2015)

Heritage Preservation (links verified 26 Aug 2015)

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force is co-sponsored by Heritage Preservation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance

"Part of disaster planning is knowing who to call for help and where to obtain services and supplies. Our Search tool allows you to search by state, multiple states nationally, or by type of service, expert, or supply. The results of your search can be downloaded into an Excel document for easy updating of your institution's disaster plan.

"Disaster plans for cultural institutions, including libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives, help to mitigate damage to collections in the event of a disaster. For examples of disaster plans, see the Sample Plans. Information on recovery techniques may be found in the Resources page. Regional conservation preservation field service offices where you can find assistance in writing a disaster plan and where help is available in the event of a disaster are also linked in Resources.

"Please help this resource to grow by contributing experts, services, and supplies you are aware of in your region. Note: Listing of companies, products, and experts does not constitute a recommendation.

"The Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance Website was a joint project of Library of Congress Preservation Directorate, the Center for Great Lakes Culture and the California Preservation Program. Prior to joining FAIC on Conservation OnLine, the database was maintained by Library of Congress Preservation Directorate and the California Preservation Program."

Kansas Historical Society (links verified 26 Apr 2015)

Disaster recovery page contains links to Kansas Disaster Recovery Assistance Network

"Most disasters are minor in nature effecting fewer than 250 volumes or 150 cubic feet of records. A roof leak, broken water line or backed up floor drain could result in a minor disaster. KDRAN encourages libraries and archives to maintain disaster caches (drums) that will provide the materials needed to react to a minor disaster at your institution."

National Archives and Records Administration (links verified 26 Apr 2015)

Vital Records and Records Disaster Mitigation and Recovery

This instructional guide addresses the identification and protection of records containing information that Federal agencies may need to conduct business under emergency operating conditions or to protect the legal and financial rights of the Federal government and the people it serves. This guide also recommends policies and procedures that will allow agencies to assess the damage to and implement the recovery of any of their records that may be affected by an emergency or disaster.

National Network of Libraries of Medicine (links verified 26 Aug 2015)

NNLM Emergency Preparedness and Response Toolkit
Rebuilding after Typhoon Sudal: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Funds Yap State Hospital Medical Library

Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC) link verferied 26 Aug 2015

Formerly the Upper Midwest Conservation Association (UMCA) Disaster response and recovery services

During business hours call: 612-870-3128 or 612-870-3120.

The MACC staff is available 24 hours-a-day, 7 days a week to give immediate assistance with disaster recovery efforts. Institutions and individuals experiencing a collections disaster can contact MACC to consult on the best practices to protect and recover their collections.

Call the main phone number, 612-870-3120 and you will be directed to a staff member immediately or to an after-hours emergency phone. For non-urgent issues, MACC email is answered during the day. This can also be an effective communication link to knowledgeable MACC conservators. The main email for that contact is:

National Park Service (NPS) (links verified 26 Aug 2015)

After the Flood: Emergency Stabilization and Conservation Measures
Museum Handbook, Part I, Emergency Planning and Response, Chapter 10
Primer on Disaster Preparedness and Response
Conserve O Grams on disaster recovery
21/1 Health and Safety Hazards Arising From Floods 2002
21/2 An Emergency Cart for Salvaging Water-Damaged Objects 2002
21/3 Salvage of Water-Damaged Collections:Salvage at a Glance 2002
21/4 Salvage at a Glance,Part I:Paper Based Collections 2002
21/5 Salvage at a Glance,Part II:Non-Paper Based Archival Collections 2002
21/6 Salvage at a Glance, Part III: Object Collections 2002
21/7 Salvage at a Glance, Part IV: Natural History Collections 2003
21/8 Salvage at a Glance, Part V: Textiles 2003
21/9 Be Prepared: Develop a Museum Emergency Operations Plan
21/10 Museum Staff Emergency Procedures: A Sample Emergency Telephone List
21/11 Museum Staff Emergency Procedures: A Sample Emergency "Flip Chart"
3/4 Mold and Mildew: Prevention of Microorganism Growth in Museum Collections 1993
3/5 Volcanic Ash: Cleaning Museum Objects 1993
3/6 An Insect Pest Control Procedure: The Freezing Process 1994
3/7 Monitoring Insect Pests with Sticky Traps 1998
3/8 Controlling Insect Pests: Alternatives to Pesticides 1998
3/9 Anoxic Microenvironments: A Treatment for Pest Control 1999
See also 2. Security, Fire, and Curatorial Safety


Disaster Assistance (link verified 26 Aug 2015)
Includes a Hot Line to call in case of a collection-threatening emergency, offering disaster assistance day or night, seven days a week

"As part of its Field Service program, NEDCC offers an emergency assistance program for institutions and individuals with damaged paper-based collections. NEDCC staff members are available 24 hours a day to provide telephone advice if a disaster occurs. This service is provided at no charge thanks to a grant to NEDCC from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). It does not normally include on-site assistance.

Information provided includes advice on drying wet collections and dealing with damage from fire, pests, or mold. Referrals to commercial disaster recovery service providers experienced with library and archives collections can also be provided."

Protection from Loss: Water and Fire Damage, Biological Agents, Theft, and Vandalism
An Introduction to Fire Detection, Alarm, and Automatic Fire Sprinklers
Disaster Planning
Worksheet for Outlining a Disaster Plan
Emergency Management Bibliography
Emergency Salvage of Wet Books and Records
Emergency Salvage of Wet Photographs
Emergency Salvage of Moldy Books and Paper
Protecting Collections During Renovation
Integrated Pest Management
Freezing and Drying Wet Books and Records

dPlan: The Online Disaster-Planning Tool

"A Free Template for Writing Disaster Plans. NEDCC and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) have created dPlan, a free online program to help institutions write comprehensive disaster plans. dPlan provides an easy-to-use template that allows museums, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions of all sizes to develop a customized plan ..."

Costep: coordinated statewide emergency preparedness

"The COSTEP Framework is a planning tool designed to bring together cultural resource institutions with emergency management agencies and first responders. It will provide a blueprint for preparing for area-wide disasters and building alliances with federal, state, and local emergency management agencies. COSTEP guides states through the process of planning for a disaster"

New York University

Disaster Plan Workbook link verified 8/31/2015

Northern States Conservation Center

NSCC's Emergency Preparedness pages has info on planning and recovery, as well as info about the A.R.K: A Recovery Kit. link verified 8/31/2015

Public Library Association

Richard W. Boss
Disaster Planning for Computers and Networks link verified 8/31/2015

National Screen and Sound Archive
(formerly ScreenSound Australia) links verified 8/31/2015

Disaster Prevention and Disaster Recovery Planning
Fire Affected Photographic Materials
First Aid for Water Damage
Fire Affected Video Tapes
Fire affected audio materials
First Aid for Fire Damaged Audio Visual Material
Recovering audiovisual treasures from flood damage

San Diego/Imperial County Libraries Disaster Response Network link verified 8/31/2015

A Basic Disaster Supply Can
SILDRN is a regional cooperative organization, formed in 1995 by San Diego State University, California State University-San Marcos, San Diego Public Library, University of San Diego, and University of California-San Diego. Its purpose is to provide mutual aid in preparing for and coping with disasters affecting libraries and their collections.

Smithsonian Institution Archives link verified 8/31/2015

Select Resources for Disaster Prevention, Preparedness, and Response for Archives, Museums, and Libraries

Society of Georgia Archivists (link verified 26 Aug 2015)

Shelter from the Stormy Blast: A Guide to Disaster Recovery Services for Georgia and the Southeast

"Shelter from the Stormy Blast is intended for the use of libraries and archives, but records repositories, museums, historical societies, and other agencies will also find resources included with their needs in mind. As its subtitle indicates, Shelter from the Stormy Blast has been prepared specifically for institutions in Georgia and the Southeast. However, much of the material has general application and will be of use to institutions throughout the United States.

"Originally, Shelter from the Stormy Blast grew out of a disaster planning process conducted by the Preservation Committee of the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE). It was published by ARCHE and the Southeastern Library Network, Inc. (SOLINET) in 1998.

University of Missouri Records Management links verified 9/1/2015

Guide for Developing a Disaster Plan
How to Prepare and Implement a Disaster Recovery Plan
Vital Records Protection Program Guide: Disaster Recovery (DR) and Preparedness for Information Protection
General Objectives of a Disaster or Contingency Plan

UNESCO links verified 8/31/2015

Vacuum freeze-drying, a method used to salvage water-damaged archival and library materials: a RAMP study with guidelines
Floods in Europe: Damages to libraries and archives

Western Association for Art Conservation (links verified 27 Apr 2009)

The Western Association for Art Conservation (WAAC) has published a great deal of information on disaster recovery and response. Searching for terms such as flood*, disaster*, earthquake*, etc. will yield valuable articles, among them:

Geary W. Sikich
All Hazards' Crisis Management Planning

Betty Walsh
Salvage Operations for Water Damaged Archival Collections: A Second Glance. May 1997
Salvage at a Glance. may 1997
Salvage Operations for Water Damaged Collections. May 1988

Barbara O. Roberts
Fire Suppression and Life without Halon

Nicholas Artim

Cultural Heritage Fire Suppression Systems: Alternatives to Halon 1301
An Introduction to Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Part 1
An Introduction to Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Part II

Bruce Kamerling
Observations from a Halon Fire Extinguishing System Test

Elisabeth Cornu and Lesley Bone

Seismic Disaster Planning: Preventive Measures Make a Difference

LYRASIS (links verified 26 Apr 2015)

LYRASIS was formed in 2009 through the merger of SOLINET Pand PALINET

Disaster Plans

Case Histories

California State University, Northridge

Oviatt Library Quake Damage (link verified 8/31/2015)

Willie M. Jones

Trial by Tornado: One records facility's response to a devastating tornado demonstrates the necessity of a solid disaster recovery plan (Infopro, March 2000, Volume 2, Number 1 page 37-39)

"In November 1998, around 2 a.m., a tornado swept through Columbia, Missouri, in a matter of minutes. That morning, the University of Missouri records management staff arrived at their workplace to find broken windows and holes in the roof and walls. Loading dock doors and entire trees were gone, ripped away by the storm. The walls of the microfilm operations had been partially knocked down and equipment lay scattered around the room. ...

"Fortunately, the records management staff had prepared a plan far in advance of the storm. Without one, they would never have been able to be up and running again so quickly. Whether the records are electronic or paper, there is a lot of information to consider when evaluating and grouping various record series for value, retention, disposition, and protection in the event of disasters."

TIC-TAC-Tornado. Disaster Recovery Journal, Volume 12, Issue 2, Spring 1999

An account of the response to the November 1998 tornado damage to a records management facility at the University of Missouri System

Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) (links verified 26 Aug 2015)

Proceedings of the 8th Annual Federal Depository Library Conference, April 12-15, 1999
Contents include:
Mary M. Finley
Disaster Planning for Libraries: Lessons from California State University, Northridge

Gail Fithian
The Aftermath of the Flood at the Boston Public Library: Lessons Learned

Fred C. Schmidt
Disasters: Plans, Clean-up, and Recovery_ The Colorado State Experience

Joan Loftus
Disasters: Plans, Clean-up, and Recovery at Stanford University Libraries
Proceedings of the 9th Annual Federal Depository Library Conference, October 22-25, 2000
Contents include:
Stephen Henson
Writing the Disaster Response Plan: Going Beyond Shouting "Help! Help!"

Other documents

Søren Carlsen
Effects of Freeze Drying on Paper, presented at given at IADA Conference 1999. Powerpoint presentation and full text (PDF) available. (link verified 8/31/2015)

Dartmouth College Library
A Simple Book Repair Manual: Air Drying Wet Books

Florence ART News link verified 9/1/2015
Florence, thirty years after the flood  (link verified 27 Apr 2009)
An online exhibition presented by Florence ART News. Part of a special issue on the flood of November 4th 1966

Walter Henry (links verified 8/31/2015)
Outline for Flood Preparedness Exercise focuses on flood response for Libraries (books, paper, and non-print materials), with emphasis on physical handling of materials. Feb. 1998
A Brief Bibliography On Disasters (link verified 27 Apr 2009)

Jan Lyall
Disaster Planning for Libraries and Archives: Understanding the Essential Issue (Provenance: The Electronic Magazine, Vol.1, No.2 March 1996).  (link verified 8/31/2015)

Kim Morris
A Vacuum Freeze Drier: Its Nice to Have One But ... A Short Paper on the National Library's Vacuum Freeze Drier Nine Years On link verified 9/1/2015

The National Library of Australia was among the first Australian cultural institutions to investigate vacuum freeze drying technology as a disaster recovery measure. It recognised a need for local expertise to be developed in this area and purchased a vacuum freeze drier in 1986.

Since then research and development and then several private drying projects have seen the equipment used for only about one third of its life. With cost effectiveness a prime Government objective in the 1990s and changing work priorities there is pressure on Federal and State cultural institutions to re assess their involvement with low use equipment.

The paper reviews the history of the National Library's vacuum freeze drier and discusses factors which may influence the Library's future direction in this area.

Shelley Reisman Paine
Protocol for Emergencies  link verified 9/1/2015

David Tremain
Notes on Emergency Drying of Coated Papers Damaged by Water  link verified 9/1/2015

Michael Trinkley
Protecting Your Institution From Wild Fires: Planning not to Burn and Learning to Recover  link verified 9/1/2015

Other disaster/emergency resources (links verified 27 Apr 2009)

Related resources

SECURMA: The Museum Security Network link verified 9/1/2015
In addition to information on security and safety museume, libraries, and archives, SECURMA has information on Fire and fire protection and Safety plans including:

The Australian Disaster Management Information Network link verified 9/1/2015>

California Department of Water Resources, Division of Flood Management link verified 9/1/2015
Provides a great amount of material concerning flooding—including current flooding—in California, including maps, satellite data, information about roads, etc.

United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UN-WCMC_
Although the focus of this resource is on environmental conservation, it provides information about environmental emergencies that can be of use to cultural institutions, archaeological and natural history conservators, etc.

During "environmental emergencies", such as major fires or oil spills, information is needed rapidly to support the activities of those responsible for coping with the problems that arise. WCMC has access to much of the relevant information, and is in a position to retrieve it quickly and distributed it to those concerned with planning measures to reduce environmental damage....

Earthquake Engineering Online Archive link verified 9/1/2015
National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering, Berkeley (NISEE)
Images of Historical Earthquakes: The Jan T. Kozak Collection

Earthquake information by state
Historic World Earthquakes

Professional Organizations and Certification

Disaster Management at Coventry University. link verified 9/1/2015
The School offers the BSc Honours Degree in International Disaster Engineering and Management, the BSC Honours Degree Development and Health in Disaster Management and the MSc Degree in Disaster Management.

Disaster Response Institute, International (links verified 26 Aug 2015)
DRII provides training and certification

Institute for Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (link verified 26 Aug 2015)
IICRC is a professional organization that promotes standards and provides training, certification and research into emergency recovery services, primarily focused on the building trades

Restoration Industry Association (link verified 9/1/2015)
The RIA, formerly the Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration, is the parent organization for a number of cleaning and restoration trades

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