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Keeping Items Safe When Disaster Strikes

Obviously when a natural disaster strikes or a home emergency occurs, you are the most precious artifact that needs to be preserved. But some preparation now can hopefully assure that you may also rescue your precious memories and valued collectibles if conditions allow. The tips below can help you protect treasured objects in the case of an emergency:

  • Store family heirlooms, collectibles and other treasured pieces in archival-quality enclosures and boxes&emdash;archival materials are designed to help prolong the life of your items for centuries
  • Consider using Gaylord Archival DocuDry boxes or plastic sheeting to help prevent damage from moisture and leaky pipes or roofs
  • Avoid storing items in areas with extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations, like attics, basements & garages
  • Keep everything in one area so it's easy to evacuate if circumstances allow you to do so safely
  • When possible, keep collections elevated off the floor to help prevent damage from flooding
  • Scan and digitize your family documents and photos; be sure a backup is stored elsewhere or in the cloud

If your family treasures are damaged in a disaster, you can use these resources from reputable institutions with simple techniques for salvaging items damaged by water or fire, linked below.

Resources for Flood Damage

After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures from FEMA
Emergency Salvage of Flood Damaged Family Papers from the National Archives
Video on Water Damage from AIC

Resources for Fire Damage

After the Fire: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures from FEMA
Saving Family Treasures After a Fire from Beth Heller Conservation
Video on Soot & Ash from AIC

Resource for a Variety of Emergencies

The Emergency Response & Salvage Mobile App from AIC