[10 on Tuesday] 10 Essential Steps for Mitigating Natural Disasters' Damage to Historic Properties
Preservation & Natural Disasters10 Essential Steps for Mitigating Natural Disasters’Damage to Historic Properties Photo courtesy amygwen, Flickr
Photo courtesy Sunset Parkerpix, Flickr1. Create a disaster preparedness plan.Following a checklist in times of crisis can focus your attentionand keep you from missing important details. Check out thisexample from the North Carolina Department of CulturalResources.
2. Check your insurance coverage.Older and historic properties often use materials or techniques youcan’t easily replicate, which makes insurance companies less likelyto cover damage. One great option: National Trust InsuranceServices, which can help value your property and ensure sufficientprotection. Photo courtesy MichaelTapp, Flickr
3. Print importantdocuments ahead of time.Disasters often cause power outages andservice disruptions, so in this wired age ofcomputer and smartphone reliance, it’s helpfulto have critical info already at your fingertips.Photo courtesy amygwen, Flickr
Photo courtesy Deep Kapadia, Flickr4. After the storm, secure your property.Your two most important tasks following a disaster: ensure thesafety and security of people working on site, and keepvaluable or important building fabric from the debris heap.Saving items help with restoration later.
5. Call your insurance company andregister with FEMA.File a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible.If your area was included in a national disaster declaration, you’llthen want to register and file apply for assistance with the FederalEmergency Management Agency (FEMA).Guidance, housing assistance, and more can be found at FEMA’sDisaster Recovery Centers after a national disaster.
6. Call your state historic preservationoffice (SHPO) and local preservationcommission.Your SHPO can answer questions about your historic property, directyou to the appropriate state and local resources, and help younavigate any confusing processes.If your property is protected as part of a local historic district orlocally landmarked, make contact with the local commission earlybefore proceeding with demolition or repairs to parts of the propertythat may be under the commission’s review.Find your SHPO here: http://www.preservationnation.org/contacts/
7. Assess the damage.It usually costs less to repair or renovate adisaster-damaged house than to re-build. Beforegutting your property (or deciding to demolish),contact your SHPO or statewide preservationorganization to find contractors with provenexpertise in historic buildings, who can walkthrough your property with you and helpdetermine the scope of the damage.Photo courtesy Locator, Flickr
8. Make a list.Inventory what was damaged or loston your property (this is especiallyuseful in cases of total destruction).Having an inventory will also helpwith your contractor bids andinsurance claims later. Photo courtesy USACEpublicaffairs, Flickr
9. Compile repair bids.Figure out exactly what needs to be done, writeit down, and walk through your house withcontractors to get a ballpark estimate. If itsounds reasonable, request an item by itemdetailed bid. Try to get three bids based on theexact same work. (And remember to verify thecontractor’s state license number andinsurance.)Photo courtesy Ennuipoet Freeverse Photography, Flickr
Photo courtesy Neighborhood Centers, Flickr10. Investigate financial resources.Your property might qualify for any number of federal, state,and local funding programs, including grants, loans, andhistoric tax credits. Your SHPO can help direct you to theprograms that best fit your property and its repair needs.
Important LinksSHPO Contactshttp://www.preservationnation.org/contacts/National Trust for Historic Preservation Disaster Recovery Infohttp://www.preservationnation.org/resources/technical-assistance/disaster-recovery/National Trust Insurance Serviceshttp://www.nationaltrust-insurance.org/FEMA: Apply for Assistancehttp://www.fema.gov/apply-assistanceFEMA: Disaster Recovery Centershttp://www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centersDisaster Assistancehttp://www.disasterassistance.gov/NCPTT Assessment Tools Aid in Disaster Response and Recoveryhttp://ncptt.nps.gov/ncptts-updated-assessment-tools-aid-in-disaster-response-and-recovery/
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