Tropical Depression Harvey: information from the Heritage Emergency National Task Force


The Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF) has distributed the following information to its members, LA and TX state cultural agencies, state and regional museum/library/archives associations, and the two state emergency management agencies. This is especially meant for those of you in LA and TX, but all of us need to be aware of what could potentially become a significant event.

Please share the following information with your constituents in Louisiana and Texas, and ask them to pass it along:

According to the National Hurricane Center, tropical storm Harvey’s remnant is forecast to regain tropical cyclone strength in the next day or two. Once Harvey starts affecting the Texas coast, up to ten inches of rain will be possible over the next week. The system is expected to bring prolonged periods of heavy rainfall and flooding across portions of Texas and southwest Louisiana. There is the potential for storm surge and tropical-storm or hurricane-force winds across portions of the Texas coast from Friday through the weekend.

Be Prepared!

As Harvey approaches Texas and Louisiana, it’s important that individuals and cultural institutions in these states prepare:

· Track the storm via the National Hurricane Center,

· Gather your staff and review your disaster plan today. No disaster plan? Put that at the top of the to-do list once the storm passes (and hope you didn’t need it this time).

· If you have a disaster plan, make sure everyone has a printed copy to take home. An electronic version may be useless if you lose power.

· Make sure staff, volunteer, and board contact lists are up to date. Determine how you will communicate with one another before, during, and after the storm.

· Make sure your insurance and disaster recovery vendor contact information is readily available.

· Back up electronic records and store the back-ups off-site or in the cloud.

· Secure outdoor furniture, bike racks, book drops, signage, etc. – anything that can become a projectile in strong winds.

· Move collections that are in areas vulnerable to flooding (i.e., the floor, the basement) or susceptible to rain (near windows or under roofs) out of harm’s way.

· If you have time, cut lengths of plastic sheeting to be able to throw them over shelves, cabinets, or equipment should the building envelope be compromised.

· Know the location and shut-off procedures for water, electricity, and gas.

· Review individual or family plans. You’ll feel better attending to your organization knowing that your loved ones are safe.

· Download the FEMA mobile app for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app (available in English and Spanish) provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.

· Download the free ERS: Emergency Response and Salvage app, based on the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel,

· For tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane, go to

· Keep this 24/7 hotline number handy: 202.661.8068. The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained conservators and collections care professionals administered by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation, are available 24/7 to provide advice.

· Download FEMA’s “After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures” fact sheet, with tips and resources for individuals and institutions,

· Familiarize yourself with the disaster declaration process in case one is declared for your state,

· For Texans, visit the Hurricane Awareness page of the Texas Department of Public Safety,…/ThreatAw…/hurricaneAwareness.htm.

· For Louisianans, visit the Emergency Event: Tropical Storm Harvey page,

All the best,

Lori Foley
Administrator, Heritage Emergency National Task Force
Office of Environmental Planning & Historic Preservation
Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration
O: 781.259.8652
M: 202.826.6303



TXCERA will host this 1-day workshop on Monday, July 24th at the MFAH in Houston, Texas to instruct Cultural Heritage professionals in safely responding to disasters such as fire and floods that threaten collections and historic sites. Expert trainers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health and the UTHealth Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management Program will team up with members of TXCERA to conduct this intensive one-day workshop on the topic.

You can reserve your spot through Eventbrite at this link

Thank You,

TXCERA Steering Committee
**TXCERA Gmail
** TXCERA Facebook

Free Webinar: Introduction to Emergency Preparedness for Performing Arts Organizations

Introduction to Emergency Preparedness for Performing Arts Organizations

Date & Time: 6/29/17 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM ET

Price: Free

Registration Link:

Webinar Description:

Localized emergencies, regional disasters, and catastrophic events can have a devastating impact on performing arts organizations where even a brief loss of business can threaten sustainability. This free 90 minute webinar will provide an introduction to why emergency preparedness is critical to protect your organization from external risks and internal vulnerabilities. These include human caused and natural crises. You will learn the typical process and contents of a plan, and receive information about resources to help with planning.

Recommended Audience:

This webinar is appropriate for attendees representing large and small performing arts organizations as well as those with and without their own performance facilities. Executive and management staff will find this webinar useful, as well as H.R., finance, communications, marketing, technical, and front-of-house staff.

Instructor: Tom Clareson

Tom Clareson is Project Director of the PAR project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help performing arts organizations nationwide learn how to protect their assets, sustain operations, and be prepared for emergencies.  He also serves as Senior Consultant for Digital & Preservation Services at LYRASIS, consulting and teaching on preservation, disaster preparedness, digitization, digital preservation, special collections/archives, remote storage, funding, strategic planning, and advocacy for libraries, archives, and museums.

Instructor: Steve Eberhardt

Steve Eberhardt is the Project Coordinator of the PAR project. Steve has coordinated collaborative grant-funded projects at LYRASIS for 20 years, including a 2006-2008 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded grant that assisted academic libraries in their recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. His most recent project provided training, grants, and consultations to preserve photographic and audiovisual collections at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

This session is the first in series presented by the PAR project. Other topics in this series will include Risk Assessment, Business Continuity Planning, Disaster Networks, and Venue Safety.

The PAR project is funded through a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Steve Eberhardt
Project Coordinator
Performing Arts Readiness project

Now available online. The recordings from the six-part Alliance for Response webinar series can be viewed on the AIC’s YouTube Channel . Explore the recorded sessions on these important topics:

  1. Setting Up Governance Structures and Creating Mutual Aid Agreements
  2. Working with Volunteers
  3. Navigating Public Assistance After a Disaster
  4. Exercise without Leaving Your Seat: Practicing the Incident Command System at the Institutional Level
  5. Crisis Communications
  6. Best Practices for Seeking Funding

Connect using this link:

Another TX-CERA sponsored disaster recovery training opportunity comes to Houston August 1-2 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.



What: The MFAH will host an inaugural disaster response and recovery forum, led by Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance, on Monday, August 1 and Tuesday August 2. Library, archive, and museum professionals in Houston and the surrounding counties are invited to share expertise and resources in this unique partnership.

The 2-day workshop will focus on disaster response and recovery situations specific to the region, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and flash floods, and will show participants how to respond to such large-scale natural events to both protect and preserve the objects in their care and to connect to a larger network of national emergency management professionals. Day 1 will feature speakers from the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Belfor USA and others. Day 2 will focus on techniques and training for wet recovery salvage of heritage objects.

When: Monday and Tuesday, August 1-2, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: The American General Meeting Room
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Audrey Jones Beck Building, 5601 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77005

1buigvi24meo0v54  TXCERA flag logo

Cost: $80.00, lunch provided. Free parking in MHAH parking lot.

Details: The MFAH is an experienced disaster management leader and advocate for protecting cultural heritage resources in the region.

The Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance (TX-CERA) is a statewide resource for cultural heritage and disaster management and part of the nationwide Alliance for Response program. Through a series of regional forums, it builds bridges between the cultural heritage and emergency response communities before disasters happen. Their programs lead to new partnerships, policies, and cooperative planning efforts. For more information, visit:

Contacts: Steve Pine, Museum of Fine Arts,,
Olivia Primanis, University of Texas, Austin,, or
Melanie Sanford, Textile Preservation Services of Texas –





A successful TX-CERA sponsored Disaster Recovery Workshop was recently held in Denton at the University of North Texas Library, June 13, 2016. Thirty-four attendees from libraries, museums and the private sector took part.

An Introduction to Emergency Response and Recovery of Material Cultural Objects

A Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance (TX-CERA) Sponsored Workshop

June 13, 2016

The purpose of this one-day workshop is to introduce participants to emergency response and recovery for material cultural objects in private and museum collections. Participants will learn protocols for responding to disaster scenes and working with local emergency responders. Health and safety issues associated with disasters and collection techniques associated with various types of material collections will also be covered. The day will end with a museum mock-disaster table-top exercise and a question/answer session with the instructors.


Building a Response Team

Entry into a Disaster Scene

Health and Safety Issues Associated with Disasters

Collections-Specific Salvage Techniques

Resources, connections and networking

Table top exercise

Instructors: Steve Pine, Jessica Philips and Melanie Sanford

Arrival at 8:30 am / Coffee to be served

Box Lunch included in registration fee


drc_0209untlibrary  TXCERA flag logo


On-campus parking not included

For further information please contact:

Steve Pine, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Conservator –

Jessica Phillips, University of North Texas, Special Collections, Head Preservation –

Melanie Sanford, Textile Preservation Services, Conservator –


For Immediate Release

June 1, 2016

For Information Contact:

Steve Pine


Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance (TX-CERA)




Advice for Saving Damaged Family Treasures

Follow these steps to halt further damage

As the threat of flooding persists in Texas, residents in affected towns and cities are being urged to seek higher ground. When the flooding ends, residents will begin the long journey of recovery. With homes flooded and lives upended, treasured possessions such as family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes become more cherished. Unless they are contaminated by sewage or chemicals, these treasures can be saved. The Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance (TX-CERA) and The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) offers these basic guidelines from professional conservators for individuals who discover their family treasures have been damaged:

Safety First! With any disaster there may be health risks. Wear long sleeves,sturdy shoes, and plastic or rubber gloves during cleanup. Protective gear such asgoggles and a fitted face mask is recommended if there is mold.

Prevent Mold. Mold can form within 48 hours; you will need to work fast. Thegoal is to reduce the humidity and temperature around your treasures as youproceed to clean and dry them. If you do encounter extensive mold, use protectivegear such as gloves, goggles, and an N100 face mask, available at most hardwarestores.

Air-Dry. Gentle air-drying is best for all your treasured belongings—indoors, ifpossible. Hair dryers, irons, ovens, and prolonged exposure to sunlight will doirreversible damage. Increase indoor airflow with fans, open windows, airconditioners, and dehumidifiers.

Handle with Care. Use great caution in handling your heirlooms, which can beespecially fragile when wet. Separate damp materials: remove the contents from


drawers; take photographs out of damp albums; remove paintings and prints from frames; place paper towels between the pages of wet books.

Clean Gently. Loosen dirt and debris on fragile objects gently with soft brushesand cloths. Avoid rubbing, which can grind in dirt.

Salvage Photos. Clean photographs by rinsing them carefully in clean water. Air-dry photos on a plastic screen or paper towel, or by hanging them by the cornerwith plastic clothespins. Don’t let the image come into contact with other surfacesas it dries.

Prioritize. You may not be able to save everything, so focus on what’s mostimportant to you, whether for historic, monetary, or sentimental reasons.

Can’t Do It All? Damp objects and items that cannot be dealt with immediatelyshould be put in open, unsealed boxes or bags. Photos, papers, books, and textilesshould be frozen if you can’t get them dry within 48 hours.

Call in a Pro. If a precious item is badly damaged, a conservator may be able tohelp. Be sure to collect broken pieces. Set your treasure aside in a well-ventilatedroom until you find professional help. If a precious item has been exposed tocontaminated water, seek a conservator’s advice on salvaging it; your health andsafety, and that of your loved ones, is of utmost importance. To locate aconservator, go to on the website ofthe American Institute for Conservation.

A free, online video guide demonstrating how to rescue soaked photographs, books, documents, and other valued items is available from Heritage Preservation. View the video at:

Additional resources for salvaging flood-damaged materials can be found here:

These recommendations are intended as guidance only. TX-CERA and FAIC assume no responsibility or liability for treatment of damaged objects.



Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance (TX-CERA) is an affiliation of institutions and persons interested in preserving the cultural heritage of Texas. Through education and advocacy TX-CERA hopes to serve as a resource for cultural institutions in order to mitigate loss of cultural and heritage collections due to disaster. The organization will develop a roster of heritage and collections professionals in the state to create a network of ready support in the event of an emergency or disaster.

About FAIC

FAIC, the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, supports conservation education, research, and outreach activities that increase understanding of our global cultural heritage.

About AIC

The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works is a national membership organization supporting the professionals who preserve our cultural heritage. AIC plays a crucial role in establishing and upholding professional standards, promoting research and publications, providing educational opportunities, and fostering the exchange of knowledge among conservators, allied professionals, and the public. Learn more about AIC at