The Precipitation Problem: Responding to Flooding in Collections

Mon, 07/10/2023 - 10:04

If your institution has experienced flooding, there are a number of organizations and resources that can provide help. For immediate assistance, contact the CCAHA 24/7 Disaster Hotline at (202) 661-8068, the New York State Archives at (518) 474-6926, or Barbara Lilley at the State Library at 518-486-4864.

Act Swiftly: When a flood occurs, time is of the essence. Respond quickly to minimize the damage:

  • Ensure the safety of staff and visitors before attending to collections.
  • Turn off electricity to prevent electrical hazards.
  • Block off flooded areas to restrict access and prevent further water infiltration.
  • Contact relevant emergency services and inform them about the flooding incident.

Prioritize Salvage Operations: Once it is safe to enter the affected area, focus on salvage efforts to minimize the impact on collections:

Seek Professional Assistance: In the aftermath of a flood, it is crucial to consult with professionals experienced in collection recovery and conservation:

Document and Assess the Damage: Maintain thorough documentation of the flood's impact on your collections. This documentation is crucial for insurance claims and future preventive measures:

  • Take detailed photographs of the affected areas and damaged items.
  •  Document the extent of the damage, including water levels, environmental conditions, and duration of exposure.
  • Assess the significance and value of the damaged materials to prioritize conservation and restoration efforts.

The DHPSNY website also offers Emergency Preparedness webinars and additional resources.

Image: Heavy flooding on Sunday washed out part of the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Rockland County, N.Y. New York State Police, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


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