Friday, August 26, 2011
PREPARING YOUR INSTITUTION FOR HURRICANE IRENE
The Heritage Emergency National Task Force offers the following advice
to museums, libraries, archives, and historical societies for protecting
collections and records from wind and water damage.
BEFORE THE STORM
Here are some basic precautions to take if there is time and you can
undertake them safely. These are excerpted from the Emergency Response &
Salvage Wheel (© 1997, Heritage Preservation):
a.. Move vital records and high priority items away from windows and
below-ground storage into water-resistant areas. Avoid areas under
b.. Screw plywood over windows or use tape to reduce shattering.
c.. Verify location and procedures for shutting off water, gas, and
d.. Wrap shelves, cabinets, other storage units in heavy plastic
sealed with waterproof tape.
e.. Move outdoor objects indoors or secure in place.
f.. Take with you lists of staff, institutional and public officials,
insurance and financial data, inventory, emergency plan and supplies.
g.. Make preliminary contact with service providers for generators,
freezers, drying or freeze-drying services, and refrigerated trucking.
h.. Appoint a staff contact to give instructions on returning to
We hope you are not in the path of this terrible storm. But in light of
Irene's potential for destruction, you should be asking:
a.. Have we established a telephone tree for staff contacts?
b.. Do we know the first responders in our community?
c.. Is our disaster plan up to date? Our insurance coverage? Our
d.. Have we established priorities for salvaging our collections?
e.. Do we have contacts at salvage firms? Have we stocked emergency
f.. Do we know what preservation resources are available in our
Since 1995, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force has been working
to help cultural institutions safeguard their collections. Sponsored by
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Heritage
Preservation, Inc., the Task Force is a partnership of 34 national
organizations and federal agencies. For more hurricane resources,
please visit: www.heritageemergency.org.