When a natural disaster or home emergency happens, your sentimental photos, important documents and precious heirlooms or collectibles take a back seat to your own personal safety. But by taking steps to prepare now, you can also save and protect your items without putting yourself at risk.
Use the tips below to help you protect your treasured objects before disaster strikes.
- Scan and digitize your family documents and photos; be sure a backup is stored elsewhere and/or in the cloud
- Store family heirlooms, collectibles and other treasured pieces in archival-quality enclosures and boxes—archival materials are designed to help prolong the life of your items
- Consider using Gaylord Archival DocuDry boxes or plastic sheeting to help prevent damage from moisture, especially leaky pipes or roofs
- Avoid storing items in areas with extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations, like attics, basements & garages
- When possible, keep collections elevated off the floor to help prevent damage from flooding
- Keep your most precious items in one area so it's easy to evacuate if circumstances allow you to do so safely
If your family treasures are damaged in a disaster, use the resources below from reputable institutions with simple techniques and considerations for salvaging damaged items.
Resources for Flood or Water 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