Disaster Assistance

For more information on "Sandy," see: http://www.fema.gov/sandy

For more information on the FEMA Public Assistance process:
http://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit

There are several resources in New York to assist your organization recover from hurricanes and other damaging storms. The State Office of Emergency Managementexternal link opens in a new window provides assistance, including access to products and recovery services.

The State Library and State Archives have resources to assist you.  Contacts, services, and resources are listed below by your organization type. The State Library and State Archives are also responsible for gathering information about the extent of damage to your building and/or collections as well as recovery costs.  Contact Barbara Lilley (518-486-4864) or Maria Holden to report the impact of the storm on your organization. 

Guide to Navigating FEMA and SBA Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutionsexternal link opens in a new window

Funding for Non-Profit / Non-Government Organizations with Damaged Collections external link opens in a new window

Salvaging and Caring For Your Family Treasures external link opens in a new window

From the NEDCC:

Libraries:

State Library staff are available to provide advice on recovering collections.  Contact the State Library at (518) 486-4864.  Additional resources

State Agencies:

Archives staff are available to provide advice on recovering damaged records. When agency records are believed to constitute a hazard to human safety or health or to property, the agency records management officer may request authorization from the State Archives to destroy or dispose of such records immediately. Contact the Archives at (518) 474-6926 or (518) 473-4254. Complete listing of State Archives disaster services and resources

See also Hurricane Sandy Information from the NY State Department of Emergency Management external link opens in a new window

Local Governments:

The State Archives Regional Advisory Officers are available by phone/email to provide advice on recovering archives and records and to assist you in applying for a recovery grant. Local governments may be eligible for up to $20,000 in disaster recovery funding for damaged records. Contact your Regional Advisory Officer or call the Archives at (518) 474-6926 or (518) 473-4254. Complete listing of State Archives disaster services and resources external link opens in a new window

Other Cultural Institutions (museums, historical societies, non-government archives):

State Archives and State Library staff are available to provide advice on recovering collections.  Contact the State Library at (518) 486-4864 or the State Archives at (518) 474-6926 or (518) 473-4254.

Additional Resources

National Disaster Recovery Fund external link opens in a new window

Any repository that holds archival records or special collections is eligible to apply for a grant. The repository need not be a member of the Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) or the Society of American Archivists (SAA).

Grant monies may be used for the direct recovery of damaged or at-risk archival materials; such services as freeze drying, storage, transportation of materials, and rental facilities; supplies, including acid-free boxes and folders, storage cartons, cleaning materials, plastic milk crates, and protective gear; and to defray the costs for volunteers or other laborers who assist with the recovery.


New York Council for the Humanities
Hurricane Recovery Grants

The New York Council for the Humanities offered grants of up to $1000 to defray salary and overtime costs for staff members working on storm-related cleanup. Any New York State cultural groups whose buildings or collections were affected by Sandy was eligible to apply. Applications for this special initiative are no longer being accepted; however, there are a number of additional resources still available.


NYLA’s Disaster Relief Fund:  Make a donation online

100% of funds collected will be distributed to libraries in need.


Preparing your Institution for Severe Weather (from NYLINE, 10/26/12)

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force offers the following advice to museums, libraries, archives, and historical societies for protecting collections and records from wind and water damage.

Before the Storm

Here are some basic precautions to take if there is time and you can undertake them safely. These are excerpted from the Emergency Response & Salvage Wheel (© 1997, Heritage Preservation):

  1. Move vital records and high priority items away from windows and below-ground storage into water-resistant areas. Avoid areas under roofs.
  2. Screw plywood over windows or use tape to reduce shattering.
  3. Verify location and procedures for shutting off water, gas, and electricity.
  4. Wrap shelves, cabinets, other storage units in heavy plastic sealed with waterproof tape.
  5. Move outdoor objects indoors or secure in place.
  6. Take with you lists of staff, institutional and public officials, insurance and financial data, inventory, emergency plan and supplies.
  7. Make preliminary contact with service providers for generators, freezers, drying or freeze-drying services, and refrigerated trucking.
  8. Appoint a staff contact to give instructions on returning to work.

Prepare Now!

We hope you are not in the path of this terrible storm. But in light of the potential for destruction, you should be asking:

  1. Have we established a telephone tree for staff contacts?
  2. Do we know the first responders in our community?
  3. Is our disaster plan up to date? Our insurance coverage? Our inventory?
  4. Have we established priorities for salvaging our collections?
  5. Do we have contacts at salvage firms? Have we stocked emergency supplies?
  6. Do we know what preservation resources are available in our area?

Since 1995, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force has been working to help cultural institutions safeguard their collections. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Heritage Preservation, Inc., the Task Force is a partnership of 34 national organizations and federal agencies. For more hurricane resources, please
visit:  www.heritageemergency.orgexternal link opens in a new window.


Last Updated: October 28, 2014