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Disaster Recovery

Steps to Salvaging Valuables at Home:

1. Disaster Alert (if you have advanced warning):

  • Videotape or photo document the current condition of your home and belongings
  • If possible, secure vital records, video or photo documentation, and high priority items
  • Screw plywood over windows or use duct tape to reduce shattering
  • Move items away from windows and into water-resistant areas
  • Wrap shelves and cabinets with heavy plastic sealed with waterproof tape
  • Move outdoor items indoors
  • Turn off water and electricity

2. After the Disaster - Returning Home

  • Safety first! Do not reenter without permission of the proper authorities
  • Document the condition of all damaged items for insurance purposes
  • Notify your insurance representative about significant loses
  • Check for evidence of mold throughout the damaged area

3. Salvage Priority

  • Salvage items that are of the greatest importance to you
  • Focus on fragile items most prone to damage if left untreated
  • Pay attention to items most likely to be successfully salvaged

Other general tips to keep in mind:

In case of flooding:

  • Remove standing water from basement
  • Remove flood-soaked insulation, wallboard and nonhistoric wall coverings
  • Air dry with good ventilation
  • Contact a conservator to help you with valuables

Types of salvaged and other valuable items which you should bring to the attention of a conservator:

  • Framed artwork
  • Photographs
  • Books and paper
  • Textiles
  • Furniture
  • Ceramics, stone, and metal objects
  • Organic materials
  • Natural history specimens: may pose a health issue

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© Copyright January 22, 2019 Maryland State Archives