AIC's disaster response and recovery efforts encompass facilitating the National Heritage Responders (NHR) - formerly American Institute for Conservation - Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) - training; working through FAIC with the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield to help recover cultural and historic artifacts damaged by the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti; assisting in the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy in late 2012; assembling guides and information; as well as partnering with other organizations and their disaster response and recovery efforts.
The award-winning Field Guide to Emergency Response and Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel are resources that can help you deal with damage to your collection.
- The Field Guide to Emergency Response. Follow the Field Guide’s step-by-step instructions tailored to the scope of your emergency:
what to do first, whom to call, how to prevent further damage.
- The Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel. The wheel has essential information to help you cope quickly and effectively when disaster strikes. Buy now
In any emergency, staff at museums, libraries, and archives will be working with local emergency responders to secure their institution. Working with Emergency Responders: Tips for Cultural Institutions Poster provides advice on how to: find and build relationships with local emergency responders, share cultural heritage needs with responders, interact with responders before, during, and after an emergency. Buy now.
America's Treasures at Risk
Disasters can strike anywhere at anytime, and can pose threats to public health and safety, to infrastructure, and to American’s cultural heritage. From hurricanes and earthquakes to fires and leaking sprinkler systems, collecting institutions need to have disaster plans in place, with staff trained and ready to implement them. Unfortunately, this is too-often not the case. The Heritage Health Index, conducted by Heritage Preservation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services in 2005, found that 80% of collecting institutions in the U.S. did not have an emergency plan that included collections, with staff trained to carry it out. Even with a plan in place, museums, libraries, and archives can easily be overwhelmed by a catastrophic event, especially a regional disaster that also affects the personal lives of staff, their families, and the community at large. AIC-CERT can provide volunteer expertise for advice, coordination of salvage efforts, assessments, and referrals for a broad range of cultural materials.
Presidential Disaster Declarations in the United States and Territories by county from 1965–2003 reflect the broad geographic distribution and human impacts of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanoes, and wildfires. (Map not to Scale. Source: FEMA) Image source: U.S. Geological survey
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