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Earth, Fire, Wind (& Water)
Material can also be found on page 471-473 of 2007 FGS Syllabus

                  I.      Introduction: Whether recovery from an Earthquake, a Tornado or hurricane, a fire, or flood, it will probably include cleaning and dealing with water damage. Not everything can be saved – some damage is irreversible. However with a little knowledge, simple tools and patience, it is amazing what can be recovered and saved after a natural disaster.

              II.      Water damage (After The Flood)

a.    variables

·        age

·        humidity

·        recovery plan and tools used

b.    rescue

·        Use protective gear

·        Watch for mold a secondary disaster

·        Be careful – wet things are extra fragile

·        Give those babies a bath

·        Do not freeze photos or negatives

c.     Dry

·        Blot

o       Use clean and absorbent material

§         Blotter paper

§         Unprinted newsprint

§         Paper towels

§         Rags

§         Flour sack material

§         Cloth baby diapers

o       Use palm of hand only

o       Never twist or wring

·        Fans & dehumidifiers – with restrictions

·        Separate where possible to increase airflow

d.    separate and organize

·        Matte items should be dry before separating completely

·        Glossies may need rewet

e.    Archive

·        Organize

·        Use archival material

·        Label

·        Don’t use a piling system

·        Not everything can be recovered to 100% before the disaster. Decide if item should be:

o       Kept

o       Recreated

o       Worth consulting a professional about

o       Documented

           III.      General Notes

a.    Preserve

·        Keep clean

·        Monitor humidity

·        HEPA filter

b.    enjoy

c.     recreate

            IV.      General Storage Ideas

a.    Environmenals

·        Thermometer for temperature

·        Humidity gauge for monitoring

·        Dehumidifier for proactively

·        UV filters for light regulation

b.    “Safe” storage material

·        Acid free

o       Boxes

o       Folders

o       Envelopes

o       Packing Material

·        Safe plastics

·        Labeling to cut down on wear

·        Organizing to aid use and enjoyment

c.     Tips to use

·        Good airflow

·        Clean air filters

·        Vacuum & dust

·        Low body oil

·        Limit cleaning

·        No smoking

·        Moderate temperature and humidity

·        Keep a written history

d.    Things not to do for long term storage

·        Don’t use paper clips, rubber bands, safety pins, tape, sticky notes, acidic packing material, etc.

·        Don’t overfill storage containers

·        Don’t make hard folds, wrinkles or creases

·        Don’t hang without support

·        Don’t store or submit often to bright lights

o       Older copy machines

o       Flash photography

o       Near unprotected windows

                V.      Conclusion: Don’t automatically give up after a disaster. Even town destroying twisters and large scale avalanches can leave important items that are ready for disaster recovery. With a little preparation and work, it may be surprising what you, unassisted, can recover for future generations of your family to enjoy.

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Resources for this presentation included more than a decade of practice and observation as well as assorted texts and articles. Conduct internet searches for current articles and texts as preparatory work, and never forget to consult your local reference librarian as well. Another great source is: American Institute for Conservation, 1717 K ST NW, STE 301, Washington, DC 20006, Phone: 202-452-9545, FAX 202-452-9328, Email:


This speaker wishes all the best for every bit of preservation and disaster recovery done and also welcomes comments. Feel free to contact her by email ...

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Page Last Updated November 11, 2015

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