Records Emergency Information

Federal Agencies

Emergency preparedness minimizes damage from any emergency, whether a small scale building problem or a catastrophic natural disaster. When an emergency does occur, effective response and recovery actions are necessary to salvage and preserve as many Federal records as possible.

The links on this page will assist Federal records managers in preparing for, responding to and recovering from an emergency. Links are also provided for Federal records management assistance, laws and regulations concerning damaged records, and information on records management during disasters.

Records Management

Archival resources to use during a records emergency.

Respond and Recover

Respond as soon as it is safe to enter the area after an emergency and Recover records or cultural property damaged by the emergency.

Immediate Response


Water encountered during an emergency may be contaminated. The most common and dangerous contaminants in water are salt, chlorine and sewage. Contaminants, especially sewage, may require special health precautions. Follow advice of your local health officials. Protective gloves/clothing must be worn at all times when handling contaminated materials.

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Information by Media Type

Paper (unbound documents, maps, drawings, posters)

Photographs and Film (prints, negatives, sheets and rolls)

Bound Volumes (books, periodicals)

Audio and Video (tapes, disks)

Electronic Media (hard drives, diskettes, CDs)


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A major disaster can strike at any time, endangering precious cultural property and leaving archival holdings vulnerable to damage and destruction in many forms.A pro-active rather than a re-active approach to disaster preparation is the best means we have of mitigating damage from natural disasters or other forms of destruction.

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PDF files require the free Adobe Reader.
More information on Adobe Acrobat PDF files is available on our Accessibility page.

Safety First Safety First:  Never enter an area affected by an emergency until the appropriate authority declares that it is safe.

Contracting Emergency Recovery Services for Archival Records Template Open PDF file

Additional Resources

The following organizations provide valuable resources for emergency preparedness and disaster response.

Preservation >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272