Salvaging Treasures after a Flood

Hi Everyone!

We are aware that there have been many resources, guidelines, encouragement and support sent out on the LibNet, however, we wanted to be sure to post here on the blog as well. A special thank you Dan Lawrence, our NRS director, for compiling the resource list below. Drying out has begun and recovery is on its way!

Salvaging Treasures After a Flood

General Information Sources:

For Individuals:

For Libraries, Museums, and Other Cultural Heritage Institutions:

The following recommendations were provided by Julie Page of Western States & Territories Preservation Assistance Service (WESTPAS) to help libraries, museums and other heritage institutions to assess damage and prepare to reach out to a vendor and are reprinted with permission. Flooded sites are being encouraged to take photos of damage and ask for help.

  • Use a company that has a good reputation and offices in the state and ask lots of questions
  • Ask for contact info for prior customers (to provide references) who have had similar work done in the past for the same type of institution (libraries, museums, etc.)
  • Select a company with a standard rate chart for services, one that applies in a disaster like is being experienced as well as when there is little work. This is where it is easy to get taken advantage of.
  • Work closely with your insurance company as they will know the good companies and possibly have some connections to get help sooner
  • Try to get a company that can do your whole job (building, equipment, collections, etc.) and not subcontract. If they have to subcontract any work on damaged collections, keep control on where your collections are treated and consult experts.
  • Get water damaged collections frozen as quickly as possible, before they start to dry out if you can. For collections that can be frozen to stop mold growth and further damage AND to BUY YOU TIME to make good decisions, see the attached handout (in case doesn’t attach, see:   A10 and A11
  • Protect undamaged collections, equipment, etc. and get it out of compromised buildings so it doesn’t become part of your disaster.
  • Take lots of photos of damage (see note below). Flash will allow you to see much more when there is no other lighting. Download to a laptop and assess damage. Useful also in discussions with a vendor.
  • For flood damaged historic buildings, a document that may help is: National Trust for Historic Preservation “Treatment of Flood Damaged Older and Historic Buildings” (pdf online). Searching with title will also pull up more information. I am going out on a limb here, not my field of expertise. Suggest contacting the SHPO’s office for historic structures. Use a vendor with experience drying older structures.
  • Ask for assistance in deciding your best course of action  with collections use the WESTPAS emergency number for cultural institutions (not for the general public please!): 888-905-7737

One of the reputable companies that has a large presence in Colorado is BELFOR Property Restoration, with Colorado Springs, Denver, Ft. Collins and Glenwood Springs offices.

They will have mobilized their catastrophic response (CAT) team nationally to Colorado. That said, they will be very busy with their Red Alert clients. If you can get damaged collections frozen, you can then wait and have them dry materials when things settle down.

For freezer storage in Colorado, search:

In a quick search, these facilities turned up, and there may be more:

  • Americold Logistics Denver UNITED STATES
  • Denver Cold Storage, a division of Reddyice Corporation Denver UNITED STATES
  • Diversified Transfer & Storage Inc. Denver UNITED STATES
  • Interstate Warehousing, Inc. Denver UNITED STATES
  • Millard Refrigerated Services Greeley UNITED STATES
  • Oneida Cold Storage and Warehouse, Inc. Henderson UNITED STATES
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