Disaster Response Resources

We encourage all organizations to commit time to evaluating your emergency preparedness plans. While the current hurricane season reminds us of the need to be prepared, a disaster can take the shape of a broken water pipe in the basement, leaks in a ceiling, mold due to high humidity, or fire from faulty wiring. To assist you in preparing a safe space for your staff, visitors, and artifacts, we've compiled a list of resources below for your convenience.

Useful Links & Resources

Links for Government Agencies & Resources

Emergency Preparedness Tips

compiled from The Heritage Emergency National Task Force & Preservation Virginia
  • Gather your staff and review your disaster plan today. No disaster plan? Put that at the top of the to-do list.

  • 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, disaster recovery vendors, and important contacts information are readily available; print copies or have them available in the cloud.

  • If you don’t already have up-to-date images (photographic/video) of your facility’s exterior and interior, including storage areas, now’s the time to take them. Being able to illustrate how your building and collections looked before damage will be helpful if the need arises to pursue recovery financing. 

  • Back up electronic records and store the backups off-site or in the cloud.

  • Walk around the property - take photographs or videos of the buildings from all sides and the interior. This can be helpful if you have damage and need to remember, document, or recreate how something looked prior to a storm. Secure 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.

  • Cut lengths of plastic sheeting to be able to throw them over shelves 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.

In Need of Assistance?

The National Heritage Responders (NHR) -The National Heritage Responders (NHR) respond to the needs of cultural institutions and the public during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors, and the public.  Volunteers can provide advice and referrals by phone 202-661-8068. Less urgent questions can also be answered by emailing NHRpublichelpline@culturalheritage.org.
Museums may find they need assistance from colleagues in the event of storm damage, and if we get such a call, we will let our members know.  Keep in mind that while we all want to help right away, oftentimes it is a week or more after a disaster before a site can evaluate the damage, get an all-clear from emergency crews, and be able to even ask for volunteer assistance. In the event you are able to assist sites in need, or are a site in need, contact VAM at 804-358-3170. We will help coordinate connections where possible.