Disaster Recovery and Preparedness

Natural disasters can harm family heirlooms. These resources will teach you how to plan for a disaster and salvage or restore your family treasures in the event of disaster.

For the most up-to-date disaster response and recovery information, visit the ALA Natural Disasters page

Nancy Kraft's Disaster Preparedness webinars

These two sessions, one from 2010, one from 2015, include a wealth of information from expert Nancy Kraft.

Disaster Response Q & A webinar recording (.wmv)   |  presentation slides (.pdf)

Disaster Response webinar recording - 2010 (.wmv)

More resources from the webinar: (all .doc files in one .zip file)

24-Hour Hotlines

National Heritage Responders (NHR): (202) 661-8068

Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC): (855) 245-8303

Other Resources

Disaster Recovery Technical Bulletins and Emergency Resource Guide. (Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts) Technical bulletins provide guidance on salvaging art on paper, books, and photographs. Information on disaster preparation and prevention, as well as drying options, is presented in clear, concise language. The salvage leaflets are available in Spanish as well. For those in the Mid-Atlantic, the Emergency Resource Guide is a good resource to suppliers, service providers, and resources for information.

Emergency Management Technical Leaflets. (Northeast Document Conservation Center) Technical leaflets in Section 3 provide guidance on disaster preparedness and recovery for books, documents, and photographs. Information on disaster planning, preparation and prevention, recovery from water damage and mold, and much more is presented in an easy to understand format.

Disaster Response and Recovery. (Library of Congress) Simple and concise directions for salvage of all types of collections.

Emergency Preparedness. (Library of Congress) Useful disaster-specific information covering earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, tornadoes, fire, and flood. Provides helpful insurance information and general valuation guides for books in both Dewey and Library of Congress classifications.

Resources for Emergency Planning and Preparedness and Resources for Response and Recovery (Heritage Preservation/Heritage Emergency National Task Force) Valuable information and forms to guide institutions and individuals through the disaster planning and recovery process. Includes video clips from the Field Guide to Emergency Response DVD.

Resources for Protecting and Saving Family Treasures and Historic Properties. (Heritage Preservation/Heritage Emergency National Task Force) Information to help individual understand their risks, how families can prepare for disasters, salvage their belongings, and restore their historic property. Includes video clips from the Field Guide to Emergency Response DVD.

Save Your Treasures the Right Way covers the basics of dealing with water damage and Coping with Water Damage, a ten-minute video, provides a demonstration of techniques. There's also a great 6 minute video titled Dealing with Soot.

Emergency Planning and Recovery Techniques. (Greater Hudson Heritage Network) A manual geared mostly toward institutions but has helpful recovery information for many different types of larger format paper items. Has not been updated since 1999 so suppliers information may be inaccurate.

Salvage Procedures for Wet Items (Minnesota Historical Society) Helpful resource for salvaging a wide variety of water damaged materials. Minnesota Historical Society centered from some methods as the procedures are excerpted from the MHS disaster plan. The Disaster Salvage Tip Sheet is particularly helpful.

Disaster Recovery for Films in Flooded Areas. (Association of Moving Image Archivists) Useful resource for recovering family home movies with informative frequently asked questions section.

Conserve O Grams (National Park Service) The leaflets on this site are primarily for professionals, but the scope of materials under the care of the National Park Service make this a valuable resource for information about caring for or salvaging a wide variety of material.

Emergency Salvage of Moldy Books and Paper
Emergency Salvage of Wet Photographs (Northeast Document Conservation Center [NEDCC]) These leaflets are written for professionals, but there's lots of good information for the general public.

Find a Conservator
American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC)
If a valuable family treasure is badly damaged, a professional conservator may be necessary. Use this online resource to search for a professional conservator by location and material specialty.