FEMA describes “mitigation” as the "effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters." In order for mitigation to be effective, institutions should take action now—before the next disaster—to reduce loss or risk to collections later (analyze risk, reduce risk, and insure against risk).


Past Webinars

Sample Forms, Templates and Documents

4 Key Points for Risk Management

DHPS|NY - Risk Assessment Webinar for Collecting Institutions

AIC - Risk Assessment Webinar


According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, an Emergency Preparedness Plan establishes arrangements in advance to enable timely, effective, and appropriate responses to hazardous events or emerging disaster situations.  It provides the overall strategy for minimizing the impact of an emergency,  describes the organization and its collections, and clearly defines staff roles in varying emergency situations. An emergency plan will only be effective if your staff understand the plan and have the resources to implement it. 

This includes activities such as: 


Sample Forms and Documents (coming soon)

Prepare Your Building & Collections

Webinar: Working with Emergency Responders

ARCS - Planning for the Unexpected Webinar


First and foremost, personal safety is more important than any collection. No one should be allowed into an affected area until emergency service personnel have declared the space to be safe. This may take time. Use this time to revisit your institution's emergency plan, contact and assemble your response team, and begin plans for your salvage efforts. 

***Special Note from the American Institute for Conservation***

Even after the building is deemed safe to enter, you still have to consider the following hazards:

Beyond building issues, the collections themselves may also be hazardous. Zoological collections may contain residues of old pesticides including heavy metals such as arsenic and mercuric compounds, or other pesticides like DDT, paradichlorobenzene, or naphthalene. Specimens themselves may be stored in formaldehyde, ethanol, and/or isopropanol.

In the case of tropical storms and flooding, the flood waters may also have left hazardous residues such as sewage or heavy metals.

AIC Response Suggestions:


Past Webinars

Sample Forms and Documents  (coming soon)

Webinar: Response for Archives

National Park Service - Response and Recovery


It is important to know that the recovery process may take time. The goal is to stabilize the collection and avoid or reduce future risk. This may include: building repairs or renovations, conservation of the collection, or applications for grants or relief funding to support recovery efforts. Due to the wide scope of variables for each event, it is important to speak with a conservator or other specialist about the best ways to address each individual incident.


Sample Forms and Documents  (coming soon)

Salvaging Flood Damaged Materials

Galveston Historical Foundation - Rescuing Textiles After a Flood

AIC - Soot and Ash Removal

Salvage Techniques

Galveston Historical Foundation - Rescuing Heirloom Furniture After Flood

Galveston Historical Foundation - Rescuing Heirloom Books After Flood

Galveston Historical Foundation - Rescuing Heirloom Photo Recovery

Health & Safety

Nothing is worth the risk of injury or exposure. According to OSHA, the topic of occupational health and safety refers to programs, guidelines and procedures that protect the safety, welfare and health of any person engaged in work or employment. For cultural institutions, having a solid understanding of your institution's risks and hazards will allow you to better communicate your emergency plans to employees, management, and board members and create a safe working environment for staff, researchers, volunteers and the general public.


Sample Forms and Documents (coming soon)

ARCS: PPE for Collection Emergencies

C2C: Identifying and Managing Hazardous Materials In Museum Collections

These recommendations are intended as guidance only. TX-CERA and FAIC assume no responsibility or liability for treatment of damaged objects.