These are the methods to use when treating damaged items after the fire.
Up in smoke
How to recover historical documents when a fire ravages your building By Group 5: Rachel Carter, Stacy Helming and Sara Denhart
Based on the damages that result from a fire to a historical building Idea taken from the burning of the Courthouse in Madison Madison’s Courthouse had hundreds of documents in the basement and other county offices when the fire started The fire caused burn and water damage to documents The fire resulted in documents being freeze dried and shipped to Michigan for cleaning and deodorizing
This photo was taken from SaraDenhart’s wireless phone on the dayof the fire. She covered the fire forthe local newspaper, The MadisonCourier.
The process begins in preparation and planning Natural disasters, like earthquakes, floods and severe storms, cannot be prevented. Planning can help lessen the effects of natural disasters. Manmade disasters, like fires and failures in utility infrastructure, can be prevented. Planning for these events can also help lessen the effects of these incidents.
Ways to prevent these occurrences from happening: Having routine inspection by staff members and certified building code inspectors. Making sure the building is maintained Making sure the building is properly cleaned Making sure housekeeping duties are regularly performed By watching what users and the public are doing throughout the building (Illinois State University, 2008)
The area where the historical documents and materials should be: Properly ventilated – preferably having a separate HVAC system Kept at 68 degrees and 50 percent humidity Should not be stored in a basement or an attic Should be protected from dirt, dust and light. Ultra-violet filters should be put on all fluorescent lights and on windows to prevent any damage to materials and documents Food, smoking and beverages should be restricted from the area. (Illinois State University, 2008)
Staff members should know the building’s layout and any issues that might be dangerous. They should know all the procedures, where fire exits and extinguishers are located and how to operate them. The evacuation maps and procedures should be posted and known by staff. And, most of all, the building should have an emergency plan
Call 911 in the event of an emergency Call the full staff member list, starting with the person in charge. Leave messages and try all forms of communication listed, may they be wireless, electronic or landline options. Call the insurance company
In-house collections salvage team Team leader, preferably the director or facilities manager Salvage manager to oversee the operation Recorder to maintain inventory of materials Staff Coordinator They will make sure operations have enough people to work through the salvage site They will make sure the necessary materials and other items are available Conservator They will use their expertise to ensure the best conservation practices are used Team Members to provide assistance during the emergency Backup Team Members to provide additional assistance (The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2007)
Have a staff meeting to discuss plan before disaster strikes Choose the teams during the meeting Determine supplies and services needed if event happens Can take up to four hours to discuss details and assign duties(Disaster Plan Workbook, n.d.)
Extremely rare and essential items Valuable documents Essential documents for operations Irreplaceable materials that must be kept in original form Microform and photographic masters Significant content and valuable items Materials with significant content and are expensive to replace Items that belong to other libraries Materials that are replaceable with other originals Expendable Has yearly substitutes and updates Duplicates (The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2007)
Fire Fire damage can occur from lightning strikes, wildfires, arson, electrical problems, cigarette smoking, lit candles or manmade causes. After extinguishing a fire, water damage can exacerbate the problem. Water Water damage can occur from accidently setting off the sprinkler system, flooding, leaks in the roof, broken plumbing pipes and leaks, rainfall, extinguishing a fire or any other manmade problem. (Walsh, 1997)
After a fire, there are several types of damage that you may encounter, including items that are: Completely burned and beyond salvage. Partially burned, but dry Partially burned, but not wet Smoke or soot damaged Unburned but wet Physically damaged from the fire fighting effort Simply heat affected Damp, but not wet Wet, but not soaked Soaked or waterlogged
Air drying Use a cool, low-humidity area with good air circulation. If possible, air dry material on plastic racks to increase evaporation. Exposure to light may reduce threat of mold, but prolonged sunlight can cause fading. Interleaving Use blotter paper, uninked newsprint, paper towels, or waxed or freezer paper This keeps items from sticking together and prevent dye transfer or running. Freezing If objects cannot be dried within 48 hours, freeze them until action can be taken. Freezing stabilizes collections for months; it stops mold growth, ink running, dye transfer and swelling. (FEMA: Emergency Response Action Steps, n.d.)
Vacuum Drying or Thermal Drying Items are dried in a vacuum chamber, often at temperatures above 100 degree Fahrenheit. This method accelerates aging and causes damage to many materials: animal skins (leather and vellum), film media. Widely available Slower than vacuum freeze-drying but less expensive. Vacuum Freeze The items are dried in a vacuum chamber at below-freezing temperatures to minimize swelling and distortion. Generally provides the most satisfactory results; recommended for historic collecting materials and glossary paper. A commercial service available throughout the United States (FEMA: Emergency Response Action Steps, n.d.)
Cleaning Non-professional staff can do this process. It involves cleaning furniture, fixtures, and collecting damaged materials and equipment. How long: 48 hours to seven days Retrieval and Protection Paraprofessional and professional staff can do this process. It involves protecting materials that were not damaged and sorting materials that were damaged by severity. How long: 24 hours to seven days Restoration Professional staff should do this process. It involves deciding what materials will be restored in house and what will be sent to a professional restoration company. How long: one month to more than one year Documentation Facility director and recorder document damage to facility and materials. How long: 24 hours to seven days
Some building contents may be contaminated. Do not enter without current tetanus shots, protective gloves/clothing, hard hat and NIOSH-approved respiratory mask. Identify and repair structural hazards. Brace shelves. Remove debris from floor. Reduce temperature and relative humidity at once to prevent mold outbreak. Ideally targets are less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 45 degrees RH. If warm outside, use coldest air conditioning setting; cover broken windows with plastic. In cool, low-humidity weather open windows, use circulating fans. If mold is already present, do not circulate air. Do not turn on heat unless required for human comfort. Remove standing weather and empty items containing water; remove wet carpets and furnishings. If everything is soaked, use commercial dehumidification except in historic buildings. Purchase needed supplies. (FEMA: Emergency Response Action Steps, n.d.)
Leave undamaged items in place if the environment is stable and area secure. If not, move them to secure, environmentally controlled area. If no part of the building is dry, protect all objects with loose plastic sheeting. When moving collections, give priority to undamaged items and those on loan. Separate undamaged from damaged items. Until salvage begins, maintain each group in the same condition you found it Keep wet items, dry items dry, and damp items damp Retrieve all pieces of broken objects and label them. Check items daily for mold. (FEMA: Emergency Response Action Steps, n.d.) If mold is found, handle objects with extreme care and isolate items.
Once it is safe to enter the building, make a preliminary tour of all affected areas. Wear protective clothing. Do not move objects or collections without documenting their condition. Use a Polaroid-type camera or video camera to record conditions of collections and structure. Make sure images clearly record damage. Supplement with better quality photos when necessary. Make notes and voice recordings to accompany photographs. Assign staff to keep written recordings to accompany photographs. Make visual, written and voice records for each step of salvage procedures (FEMA: Emergency Response Action Steps, n.d.)
Gather staff off-site to assign tasks and review salvage priorities. Create a team big enough for the work. Establish a “Command Center” with office equipment (computers, photocopier) and communications tools (walkie- talkies, cellular phones). Create a secure salvage area with locks, fans, tables, shelves, plastic sheeting, drying materials and clean water. Notify emergency officials of the extent of damage. Contact peer institutions or professional groups for help. Appoint a media liaison to report conditions and need for help/volunteers. You may have to limit access to collections. Verify financial resources; amount and terms of insurance, government assistance and potential outside funding. Contact service providers for generator, freezer, drying or freeze- drying services and refrigerated trucking. Arrange for repairs to security system.
Paper documents and manuscripts Stable media Freeze or dry within 48 hours of damage Don’t separate single sheets Interleave between folders and pack in crates or cartons Air, vacuum or freeze dry Soluble inks Immediately free or dry Do not blot Interleave between folders and pack in crates or cartons Air or freeze dry
Maps and Plans Stable media Freeze or dry within 48 hours of damage Pay attention and use caution if folded or rolled Pack in map drawers, trays, flat boxes or on poly covered plywood Air or freeze dry Soluble media Immediately free or dry Do not blot Interleave between folders and pack in crates or cartons Air or freeze dry Drafting linens Immediately freeze or dry Avoid pressure Pack in map drawers, trays, flat boxes or on poly covered plywood Air or freeze dry Interleave and separate sheets if air drying Maps on coated paper Immediately freeze or dry Pack in map drawers, trays, flat boxes or on poly covered plywood Freeze dry
Books Books and pamphlets Freeze or dry within 48 hours of damage Do not open or close Do not separate covers Separate with freezer paper Pack spine down in crate or cardboard box Air, vacuum or freeze dry Leather and vellum bindings Immediately dry or freeze if multiple books Do not open or close Do not separate covers Separate with freezer paper Pack spine down in crate or cardboard box Air dry Books and periodicals with coated paper Immediately freeze or dry Do not open or close Do not separate covers Keep wet Pack spine down in containers lined with garbage bags Freeze dry Can air dry by fanning pages and interleaving (Walsh, 1997) Do not freeze dry gilded or illuminated documents
Art on Paper Prints and drawings with stable media Freeze or dry within 48 hours Don’t separate single sheets Interleave between folders Pack in crates or cartons Air, vacuum or freeze dry Oversized prints and drawings Freeze or dry within 48 hours Use care if folded or rolled Pack in map drawers, trays, flat boxes or on poly covered plywood. If damp, air or freeze dry If wet, freeze dry Framed prints and drawings Freeze or dry within 48 hours Handle with care Unframe if possible Pack in map drawers, trays, flat boxes or on poly covered plywood. Air or freeze dry (Walsh, 1997)
Art on Paper (continued) Soluble Media Immediately freeze or dry Do not blot Interleave between folders Pack in crates or cartons Air or freeze dry Coated papers Immediately freeze or dry Keep wet in containers lined with garbage bags Freeze dry Can be air dried by separating pages and interleaving (Walsh, 1997)
Compact Discs & CD ROMs Immediately dry discs Dry paper enclosures within 48 hours Do not scratch surface Pack vertically in crates Air dry Sound and Video Records Immediately rinse off tapes soaked by dirty water Dry within 48 hours if paper boxes and labels Taps can stay wet for several days Do not freeze Do not touch magnetic media with bare hands Keep taps wet in plastic bags Pack vertically in plastic crate or tub Air dry Test vacuum drying without heat (Walsh, 1997)
Black and White Photographs Freeze or dry within 48 hours, except for carbon prints and Woodburytypes Immediately freeze dry carbon prints and Woodburytypes Do not touch with bare hands Interleave between groups of photographs, except for silver gelatin printing Silver gelatin printing needs to be kept wet Carbon prints and Woodburytypes should be stored horizontally Air dry Color Photographs Dye transfer prints need to be packaged to prevent damage and immediately dry Freeze or dry within 48 hours Do not touch emulsion Do not touch binder with bare hands Keep chromogenic prints and negatives wet Transport dye transfer prints horizontally Air dry face up Do not vacuum dry (Walsh, 1997)
Cased Photographs (Ambrotypes, Pannotypes, Daguerreotypes and Tintypes) Immediately dry Handle with care Pack horizontally in a padded container Air dry face up Never freeze Negatives Immediately freeze or dry Handle with care Do not blot deteriorated nitrates with soluble binders Do not touch emulsion with bare hands Store horizontally Keep polyester based film, nitrates and acetates in good condition and gelatin dry plate glass negatives wet Air dry face up (Walsh, 1997)
Transparencies Freeze or dry within 48 hours Handle with care Keep chromogenic color transparencies or mounted color slides and sheet films wet Pack vertically Pack color transparencies horizontally Air dry Never freeze color transparencies Motion Pictures Rewash and dry within 48 hours Keep wet Arrange with a film processor to rewash and dry (Walsh, 1997)
Microforms Rewash and dry within 48 hours Freeze or dry within 48 hours for aperture cards, jacketed microfilm or diazo and vesicular microfiche Do not remove from boxes Hold carton together with rubber bands Keep wet, except for diazo and vesicular microfiche Diazo and vesicular microfiche can be interleaved between envelopes and packed in crates Air dry Arrange with a microfilm processor to rewash and dry (Walsh, 1997) for microfilm rolls
Replacing Destroyed Materials Materials should be replaced, if possible Review insurance policy on having documents replaced Discarding Destroyed Materials Materials should be recycled or taken to proper disposal facilities (Policy: Replacement of Library Materials, 2010). Disaster Clean Up Efforts Only authorized personnel should be allowed in the building during the clean up process Circulation of Items Items on loan during the disaster should be accounted for and collected immediately. No items should be circulated until cleanup process is done. (National Archives of Australia, 2012)
Disaster Plan Workbook. (n.d.). Retrieved from New York University Library Website: http://library.nyu.edu/preservation/disaster/toc.htmFEMA: Emergency Response Action Steps: Recovering Fire-Damaged Records and Emergency Response Action Steps. Retrieved 20 April 2012. http://www.fema.govIllinois State University. (2008). Illinois State University Libraries Disaster Plan. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from Illinois State University Libraries Disaster Plan: http://cool.conservation-us.org/bytopic/disasters/plans/isudis.htmlNational Archives of Australia. Retrieved 20 April 2012. http://www.naa.govPolicy: Replacement of Library Materials. (2010, February 18). Retrieved from University of North Carolina School of the Arts Semans Library: http://library.uncsa.edu/home/policies/replacement-of-library-materialsThe President and Fellows of Harvard College. (2007, January 8). Library Preservation at Harvard. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from Library Preservation at Harvard: http://preserve.harvard.edu/emergencies/teamresponsibilities.pdfThe President and Fellows of Harvard College. (2007). Priorities for Salvage. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from Library Preservation at Harvard: http://preserve.harvard.edu/emergencies/prioritiesforsalvage.pdfWalsh, B. (1997, May). Salvage at a Glance. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from The Western Association for Art Conservation: cool.conservation-us.org/waac/wn/wn19/wn19- 2/wn19-207.html