Part 2: Disaster actions

Section 6: The manual: user contents and overiding principles

6.1 Introduction

This manual comprises Part 2 of the National Library of Australia Collection Disaster Plan. It is intended for use by those responsible for managing disaster response and recovery that affects collection material, and for staff assisting with recovery.

Section 7, Disaster Action Procedures: General, identifies possible disaster incidents which may affect collection material and presents basic principles and procedures designed to help managers to deal with such incidents. Immediate, short and long term actions are outlined.

Section 8, Detailed Disaster Action Procedures gives comprehensive immediate, short and long term action procedures for identified high, medium and low risk disaster incidents.

Section 9, Special Handling Instructions, provides relevant handling information for disaster affected material and covers the range of material held in the National Library's collections. It is intended for use by those responsible for coordinating response and recovery actions.

This manual also contains appendices which provide contact information for key Library personnel, expert outside assistance and emergency equipment and supplies.

6.2 Overriding Principles

The overriding principles in all situations are:

  • Human safety has precedence over protection and/or removal of the collections, including material listed as nationally significant.
  • Directives of emergency personnel are to be obeyed as they take legal authority in an emergency.
  • All disaster response and recovery actions are to be well coordinated and well planned to achieve the best result.
  • Collection items listed on the Register of Nationally Significant Material are given priority over all other collection material when affected by an emergency.
  • Priority collection material should not be removed from the building in an emergency unless authorised by the Collections Disaster Coordinator and/or the EPC or Director General.
  • All incidents and actions are to be fully documented.

6.3 Definitions of Actions

The aim of all immediate, short and long term actions is to:

  • stabilise emergencies affecting collection material
  • salvage and restore collection material
  • rehabilitate affected areas
  • return collection material to storage
  • restore Library services as soon as possible

6.3.1 Immediate Actions

These are actions taken to immediately stabilise a situation and protect staff and collection material. Immediate action generally involves persons discovering an emergency assessing the situation and reporting it to those who need to know.

6.3.2 Short Term Actions

These are response actions taken to stabilise affected areas and protect collection material from further damage. Short term actions generally involve use of emergency supplies to cover collection material and contain the source of the emergency. Depending on the type of disaster short term actions also include assessment, consultation, documentation, planning, prioritisation and exchange of information to develop appropriate long term actions.

6.3.3 Long Term Actions

Long term actions are recovery actions taken to salvage and restore collection material and affected areas. They include long term planning, salvage and treatment of collection material, restoration work on affected areas, reassessment of planning, post disaster assessment and reporting.

It should be noted that disaster incidents can take many different forms necessitating the adjustment of response and recovery procedures to suit the situation. Disasters occur with uncertain combinations of wet, mouldy, burnt, smoke damaged and physically distorted collection material on an unpredictable scale. Every disaster has its own dilemmas requiring the right balance of assessment, decision and timely action, Type of disaster, type of material, location type of damage, available resources, opportunities for taking action and human safety are all likely to influence the decisions that need to be made and the allocation of priorities.

Section 7: Disaster action procedures: general

7.1 Introduction

Disaster incidents which may affect collection material at the National Library of Australia are those involving:

High Risk

  • fire and smoke
  • water and sewage leaks and associated mould outbreaks
  • flood
  • equipment malfunction

Medium Risk

  • poor storage and handling
  • high dust levels

Low Risk

  • mould outbreak
  • vandalism
  • insect and vermin attack
  • bomb damage
  • disasters involving material belonging to other owners
  • theft

This section presents basic principles and procedures designed to deal with such incidents. It outlines general immediate, short and long term actions.

7.2 Persons Discovering a Disaster Incident During Normal Hours

Immediate Actions

When an emergency situation involving collection material is discovered:

  • Assess the situation noting:
  • source of disaster
  • if collection material is affected
  • if the area is safe
  • Inform people who need to know urgently:
  • Security
  • Building and Security Services Help Desk
  • Preservation Services
  • Exhibition Registrar - if Exhibition areas affected
  • Your supervisor

7.2.1 Assessment of Reported Emergencies by Questioning

When Library staff report an emergency situation to a Preservation Services officer, the contacted officer should assess the situation with a series of questions.

Questions should cover the following areas:

  • where has the problem occurred and what is its extent?
  • is the area safe?
  • are collections affected?
  • have other floors been checked?
  • have the Building and Security Services Branch and Security been notified?
  • have collection managers / Exhibition Registrar been notified?
  • has any action been taken to protect collections?

The officer will then advise the staff member on appropriate immediate actions by referring to disaster actions set out in the Collections Disaster Plan, Part 2 and advise the Collections Disaster Coordinator.

7.2.2 Evacuation of Material

As an overriding principle, collection material should not be evacuated from storage without the express direction of the Director General, an Assistant DG, a member of EPC, or the Collections Disaster Coordinator.

Evacuation of collection material may be applicable where the Library has warning of a large flood, a bomb threat with a long lead time, or an emergency fire in another part of the building.

Evacuation from the building involves risks of exposing nationally significant material to poor weather conditions, high winds, physical damage and theft. These risks must be weighed against an unknown level of risk if the material is left in the building. In most cases the Library's housing arrangements should provide some protection against water, smoke and fire for the most important items in the collections.

If safe to do so, take short term urgent action to protect the collections.

7.2.3 Short Term Actions

Protect affected and threatened collection material by:

  • stopping the source of the problem where possible
  • preventing the problem affecting the collections by
  • covering collections with plastic sheeting
  • containing it with bins, buckets, mops, squeegees and absorbent materials
  • not handling or moving affected collection material
  • documenting the incident (photography)

Supplies to assist in protection of collection material are available from your nearest Local Emergency Supply Cabinet. Store locations and supplies available are listed in Section 3.

7.3 Discovering a Disaster Incident After hours

Immediate Actions

When an emergency situation involving collection material is discovered:

Inform people who need to know urgently.

After hours staff to call:

  • Security
  • Security to call:
  • On call duty officer
  • Building and Security Services Branch

(Security have details and contact numbers)

7.3.1 Assessment of Incident

The on call duty officer will assess the situation and advise Security of appropriate action.

7.3.2 Reporting Collection Disaster Incidents

When Library staff report an emergency situation, the contacted officer should assess the situation with a series of questions.

Questions should cover the following areas:

  • where has the problem occurred and what is its extent?
  • is the area safe?
  • are collections affected?
  • have other floors been checked?
  • have the Building and Security Services Branch and Security been notified?
  • have collection managers / Exhibition Registrar been notified?
  • has any action been taken to protect collections?

The officer will then advise the staff member on appropriate Short Term actions by referring to disaster actions set out in the Collections Disaster Plan, Part 2 and advise the Collections Disaster Coordinator.

The on call duty officer will complete the 'Comcover incident report' form available on the Intranet.

7.3.3 Short Term Actions

Protect affected and threatened collection material by:

  • stopping the source of the problem where possible
  • preventing the problem affecting the collections by
  • covering collections with plastic sheeting
  • containing it with bins, buckets, mops, squeegees and absorbent materials
  • not handling or moving affected collection material
  • documenting the incident (photography)

Supplies to assist in protection of collection material are available from your nearest Local Emergency Supply Cabinet.

7.4 Persons Responsible for Managing the Disaster

Long Term Actions

After immediate actions have been taken, persons responsible for managing the disaster will commence long term actions by:

  • reassessing the situation
  • consulting with or including the EPC in planning and decision making
  • consulting with Collection Managers / Exhibition Registrar where necessary
  • establishing priorities
  • implementing long term plans to stabilise and restore affected areas
  • implementing long term plans to salvage and restore collection material
  • obtaining resources needed to implement plans
  • fully documenting and reporting on the incident to EPC

7.4.1 Priority Collection Material

The National Library of Australia holds a variety of material identified by collection areas as being of high national significance. During an emergency which is affecting or has affected relevant collection areas, this material is given top priority for salvage and treatment.

The Register of Nationally Significant Material is updated on a quarterly basis by Preservation Services with input from Collection Managers.

7.4.2 Salvage Team instruction and Briefing

When disaster situations requiring salvage teams have been assessed and a salvage strategy formulated, salvage teams will be assembled and briefed either on site or at a designated outside location. Briefings will be conducted by a Preservation Staff member and/or Collection Manager.

Teams will be provided with a salvage team instruction form which includes general guidelines and instructions and space for special instructions notes and report notes. Section 6.5 contains an example of the salvage team instruction form.

7.4.3 Documentation of Collection Material Movements

It is essential that movement of collection materials during disaster incidents and at all stages of the disaster response and recovery procedures are documented.

Due to time constraints and quantity of material involved, documentation should be brief but accurate. The purpose is to keep a record of what has been damaged and where it has been located.

Where less than 100 items are involved, as much detail as possible should be recorded. Information to be recorded should include: call or accession number, title, publication date, reference crate or box number, normal location and new location. Condition such as wet or burned can also be included.

Where larger numbers of items are involved, time constraints may make it impractical to document movements in detail. However information to be recorded should include the number of items per box, dewey or accession number range, box number and new location. Section 6.6 contains an example of a collection movement documentation form.

Implemented plans will be maintained by re-assessment and refinement as necessary to ensure effectiveness of all actions.

7.5 Salvage Team Instruction Form

 Date: .................................................... Time: ........................................

 

 

Salvage Team No:  
Leader:  
Salvage Location:  
Type of Material:  

 

General Guidelines:

  1. Always record collection movements.
  2. Salvage wet material from shelves top to bottom
  3. Monitor salvage area safety regularly
  4. Ensure team members have protective clothing
  5. Rotate team members for rest breaks
  6. Report any difficulties to the disaster command post
  7. Consult Preservation Services staff on special handling issues.

 

Special Instructions: (Include new location for salvaged material)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Record any comments on other side.

7.6 Collection Movement Documentation Form

 Date: ....................... Collection Area/Location: ......................................................................................................................

 

 

Item No. Title Author/Attribution Normal Location Crate/Box No. New Location Comments
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             

 

Section 8: Disaster action procedures: detailed

8.1 Introduction

This section provides detailed immediate, short and long term disaster response and recovery actions for identified high, medium and low risk disaster incidents which may affect collection material held by the National Library of Australia.

These detailed actions are designed as a reference tool and guide for those responsible for managing and coordinating collection related response and recovery actions to ensure incidents are managed well and in a consistent manner.

Due to the unpredictable nature of disaster incidents, these detailed guidelines may need to be modified and adjusted to suit the situation.

8.2 Fire and Smoke Damage

When a fire occurs:

  • follow directions in the NLA Counter Emergency Manual. When the situation is safe and re-entry to the building is permitted by the fire brigade:
  • commence Immediate Actions for fire and smoke damage

8.2.1 Immediate Actions

The Collection Disaster Coordinator assesses the situation to:

  1. establish if collection material has been affected
  2. check for associated water damage
  3. check that shelving is structurally sound
  4. check the need for short term protection of the collections

When the situation has been assessed commence Short Term Response and Long Term Recovery Actions for fire and smoke damage.

8.2.2 Short Term Response and Long Term Recovery Actions

Where a small amount of material is fire and / or water affected it is treated as fire and /or water affected:

  • follow directions in Sections 8.3: Short and Long Term Actions for Small Water and / or Sewage Leaks
  • follow directions in Section 9: Special Handling Instructions; Water and Fire damage

Where a large amount of material is fire and / or water affected:

  • follow directions in sections 8.3: Short and Long Term Actions for Large Water and / or Sewage Leaks
  • follow directions in Section 9: Special Handling Instructions; Water and Fire damage

Where shelving is not structurally sound the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch assesses the situation and coordinates stabilisation before any salvage work can commence.

Where collection material is smoke and/or soot affected:

  • follow directions in to Section 8.6: High Dust Levels in Collection Areas

8.2.3 Post Disaster Actions

When short and long term recovery actions are completed the Collections Disaster Coordinator and EPC members conduct a full post-disaster assessment to:

1. analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken

2. prepare a written report on the incident including:

  • cause of the disaster
  • number of items damaged, replaced, discarded, and repaired
  • ongoing treatment costs
  • staff time expended during the operation
  • cost of restoring the affected area
  • cost of equipment and supplies

3. make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

4. send letters of thanks to those who assisted

8.3 Water and/or Sewage Leak

8.3.1 Immediate Actions

When you find a water or sewage leak which could possibly affect collection areas:

1. assess the situation:

  • is water / sewage leaking from above or rising from below?
  • is it a small or a large leak?
  • is collection material being or about to be affected?
  • is the area safe to enter?

2. DO NOT enter a flooded area until maintenance and service personnel have made the area safe. There is extreme danger of electric shock

3. ring the emergency number and report the problem stating the exact location and details to the duty security officer

Security contacts and advises:

  • Building and Security Services staff, and
  • Preservation Services staff
  • Exhibitions (when in Exhibition Gallery)

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch coordinates:

  • the stabilisation of any leak
  • clean up of sewage leaks

When it is safe to do so:

  • commence Short Term Response Actions for
  • small water / sewage leaks
  • large water / sewage leaks or flood

8.3.2 Small water and / or sewage leak

Short Term Response Actions

After immediate response action has been taken:

  1. proceed to the closest Local Emergency Store Cabinets (in back lift lobby on LG2, LG1, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th floors and on Ground floor) or bins (LG1 work areas , 2nd floor behind front lifts, 3rd floor work area)
  2. break glass seal and open cabinet, and take out plastic sheeting, buckets, bins, mops, protective clothing, etc as required
  3. collect a water vac from Security or Preservation Services if required (note: water vacs should not be used near magnetic material, such as in Cold Store and Tape Store)
  4. cover affected or threatened collections with plastic sheeting, place bins under leaks if necessary
  5. remove water and / or restrict or direct its flow using mops, squeegees, water vacs, etc
  6. DO NOT remove any nationally significant material except under the direction of the Collections Disaster Coordinator

When the situation has been stabilised (leak stopped, floor clear, collection covered) commence Long Term Recovery Actions.

8.3.3 Small water and / or sewage leak

Long Term Recovery Actions

Salvage priority is generally given to:

  • nationally significant material, as listed on the Register of Items of National Significance, with the advice of the collection managers
  • material in formats requiring urgent attention (artworks, original materials with water soluble media, coated papers, magnetic media, photographs, microform masters)
  • other special collection materials
  • fire damaged material

Other collection material should then be salvaged.

The Collections Disaster Coordinator:

  • assesses the situation, and if necessary calls for Collection Managers and /or Exhibition Registrar to assemble
  • in consultation with relevant Collection Managers and /or Exhibition Registrar and Collection Development staff assesses damage to collection material and establishes priorities for removal and treatment. (Priorities are established in consultation with relevant collection managers)
  • formulates a recovery action plan
  • arranges for an NLA photographer to photograph the affected area during all stages of the action plan

The Collections Disaster Coordinator, a deputised Preservation Services or Collection area officer:

  • ensures records of material locations and movements are maintained at all times
  • supervises salvage operations
  • - sewage affected material is segregated for interim cleaning treatment by Preservation Services
  • - fire damaged material is segregated for interim cleaning and stabilisation treatment by Preservation Services

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch coordinates stabilisation and control of the environment

Preservation Services staff:

  • ensure their work area is prepared to receive affected material
  • assess affected material and determine appropriate treatments in consultation with Collection Managers and/or Director of Exhibitions. Where material is judged to be beyond cost effective recovery, collection managers should decide on replacement or discard

8.3.4 Small water and / or sewage leak

Post Disaster Actions

When treatment has been completed and appropriate environmental conditions have been restored, recovered material is returned to the collection areas, the Collections Disaster Coordinator conducts a post disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken
  • prepare a written report on the incident
  • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

8.3.5 Large water and / or sewage leak

Short Term response

Under the short term action plan, staff attempt to stabilise the situation and protect collections:

1. obtain appropriate emergency supplies from:

  • Local Emergency Store Cabinets (in back lift lobby on LG2, LG1, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th floors and on Ground floor) or bins (LG1 work areas, 2nd floor behind front lifts, 3rd floor work area)
  • Central Emergency Store. Keys are held by Security and Preservation Services

2. select plastic sheeting, buckets, bins, mops, protective clothing, etc as required

3. collect a water vac from Security or Preservation Services if required note: water vacs should not be used near magnetic material, such as in Cold Store and Tape Store

4. remove water and / or restrict or direct its flow using mops, squeegees, water vacs, etc

5. nationally significant material should not be removed except under the direction of the Collections Disaster Coordinator

6. cover affected or threatened collections with plastic sheeting, place bins under leaks if necessary

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch coordinates stabilisation of the affected area by:

  • turning off power and water supplies if necessary
  • locating and controlling the leak source
  • controlling humidity and temperature levels for the duration of the operation
  • coordinating clean up of sewage
  • arranging for the fire brigade to pump out excess water if necessary
  • arranging for the fire brigade to check the area for hazards before any staff are allowed to enter the area

The Collections Disaster Coordinator:

  • assesses the situation, taking account of the extent and type of damage, the risk or presence of mould, the type and value of the material
  • assembles Collection Managers and /or Exhibition Registrar if necessary
  • ensures that the EPC is informed of the situation regarding collections by advising Assistant DG Collections and Reader Services or Assistant DG Corporate Services
  • ensures the Communications Emergency Coordinator is informed of the situation
  • formulates a short term action plan
  • assesses short term staff and equipment needs
  • arranges for an NLA Photographer to photograph all stages of the action plan

When the situation is stabilised (leak stopped, floor clear, collection covered) commence Long Term Recovery Actions.

8.3.6 Large water and / or sewage leak

Long Term Recovery Actions

Salvage priority is generally given to:

  • nationally significant material, as listed on the Register of items of national significance, with the advice of collection managers
  • material in formats requiring urgent attention (artworks, original materials with water soluble media, coated papers, magnetic media, photographs, microform masters)
  • other special collection materials
  • fire damaged material

Other collection material should then be salvaged.

The Security Operations Co-ordinator allocates guards to keep non-essential personnel out of the affected area.

When a major incident has occurred, the Collections Disaster Coordinator:

  • requests the EPC to meet for a briefing
  • arranges for Collection Managers to conduct a full inspection of the building to locate all areas and collection items affected and assess the situation
  • arranges for a disaster recovery command post to be established with necessary furniture and equipment

Following the inspection, the Collections Disaster Coordinator and Collection Managers and /or Exhibition Registrar:

  • determine broad priorities for action
  • formulate an action plan
  • determine the staff resources needed to undertake salvage
  • establish priorities for salvage of collection material
  • brief the EPC on the situation

When priorities have been established, the Collections Disaster Coordinator, the EPC and Collection Managers / Exhibition Registrar allocate responsibilities, including responsibilities for:

  • assembling salvage teams
  • obtaining necessary supplies of materials, equipment, services and expertise for salvage. Lists of material on hand in Emergency Cabinets is in Section 3. Contact numbers of outside suppliers, and for other institutions are in Appendix 2 and 3.
  • arranging facilities for salvage workers including food and drink, rest facilities, and protective clothing
  • ensuring Senior Management are kept informed
  • ensuring the Communications Emergency Coordinator is kept informed and coordinates contact with news media
  • allocating teams to appropriate salvage areas and tasks (co-ordinated by Preservation Services staff)
  • ensuring all collection movements are fully documented and any containers labelled by designated record keepers
  • briefing teams / team leaders on the situation and on their duties (Preservation Services staff)
  • providing instructions to salvage teams (Preservation Services staff)
  • troubleshooting for salvage teams (Preservation Services staff)
  • attending to special needs of highest priority items (Preservation Services Conservators)
  • setting up sorting areas for salvaged material, with plastic covered tables
  • sorting material - assessing, separating, routing for air drying, freezing, special emergency treatment (Co-ordinated by Preservation Services staff)

Teams commence salvage operations under instructions from their team leaders and designated Preservation Services officers. (Special Handling Instructions and general principles for water damaged material can be found in Section 8.)

As material is salvaged:

  • Preservation Services or other allocated staff assess and sort material for air drying, freezing, special emergency treatment (which may include fumigation if mould is present)
  • Collections staff assess material and decide on replacement, disposal or treatment in consultation with Preservation Services staff
  • material is transported using trolleys, boxes, crates, or other suitable containers
  • material for freezing is loaded onto pallets and placed into freezer trucks using a forklift

Note: salvage of wet library material is heavy work. Team leaders are responsible for team use of appropriate lifting and transport equipment and for ensuring members have regular rest periods

The Collections Disaster Coordinator, the EPC and Collection Managers monitor progress and adjust plans as appropriate. Particular attention needs to be given to bottlenecks, complaints from salvage workers, the effect of environmental conditions, the adequacy of supplies of materials, equipment, expertise, personnel, space and security of collection material

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch continues to coordinate the control of temperature, relative humidity and air quality to facilitate the salvage operation and minimise risks of subsequent damage to the collections.

8.3.6 Large water and / or sewage leak

Post Disaster Actions

When the salvage operation is completed in an area:

  • the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch coordinates restoration of the affected area
  • Senior Library Management and the EPC coordinate return to normal operations
  • Preservation Services manage the treatment of damaged material and assess when it would be appropriate for material to be returned to storage

When short and long term recovery actions are completed, the Collections Disaster Coordinator and EPC members conduct a full post-disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken
  • prepare a written report on the incident including:
    • cause of the disaster
    • number of items damaged, replaced, discarded, and repaired
    • ongoing treatment costs
    • staff time expended during the operation
    • cost of restoring the affected area
    • cost of equipment and supplies
    • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary
    • send letters of thanks to those who assisted

8.4 Equipment Malfunction

8.4.1 Immediate Actions

If you find a situation where collection material may be damaged by failure or malfunctioning of equipment:

1. assess the situation -

  • what type of problem is the malfunction causing?
  • is collection material being affected?
  • is the area safe for entry?

2. ring or page Security or the Building and Security Services Branch Help Desk

3. ring the Exhibition Registrar if Exhibition areas are affected

4. ring the Collections Disaster Coordinator or Preservation Services if collection material is being affected

5. do not attempt to rectify a malfunctioning piece of equipment

6. do not remove damaged collection material until it is safe to do so

7. if it is safe to do so, commence short term response actions for equipment malfunction

8.4.2 Short Term Response Actions

If a malfunction results in a water leak follow directions in Section 8.3: water and / or sewage leak actions

If a malfunction results in temperature and relative humidity fluctuations the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch coordinates restoration of stable conditions within accepted levels

Preservation Services staff monitor environmental conditions in affected collection areas and liaise with the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch

If collection material has been damaged:

  • the Collections Disaster Coordinator supervises an appropriate treatment response in consultation with collection managers and acquisitions staff
  • records of all material movements should be maintained at all times.

When the situation is stabilised commence long term recovery actions for equipment malfunction

8.4.3 Long Term Recovery Actions

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch coordinates repair of equipment to fully safe working order.

Collection material given priority for repair is treated and returned to the collections by Preservation Services staff.

Collection material identified for replacement or disposal is processed by Acquisitions staff.

The Collections Disaster Coordinator conducts a post disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken
  • prepare a written report on the incident
  • propose changes to equipment maintenance procedures if necessary
  • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

8.5 Collection Damage caused by Poor Storage and Handling

8.5.1 Immediate Actions for persons discovering damaged collection material

When you find collection material that has been or seems likely to be damaged by poor storage and handling:

1. assess the situation:

  • does the situation require urgent action to prevent damage or further damage?
  • what caused or threatens to cause the damage?
  • what type of material is damaged or at risk?
  • will handling worsen the damage?

2. if a member of staff or a visitor is handling material and is causing damage, ask them to stop

3. ring the Collections Disaster Coordinator or Preservation Services

4. where the damaged material is fragile or in pieces refer to Section 8, Special Handling Instructions

5. refer the damaged material to Preservation Services with a filled in yellow treatment request form

When these actions are complete commence short and long term response and recovery actions

8.5.2 Short Term Response and Long Term Recovery Action

The Collections Disaster Coordinator in collaboration with the Collection Manager and/or Exhibition Registrar:

  • assesses the damaged or threatened collection material and determines the cause
  • arranges for and supervises steps to rectify the poor storage and handling contributing to damage, by:
  • re-designing storage systems
  • developing different storage options
  • improving packaging of material
  • organising training for Library staff
  • advising on storage modifications

Preservation Services staff:

  • develop appropriate treatment action, in consultation with collection managers
  • treat material identified for repair
  • return treated material to the collections when appropriate steps have been taken to minimise further risk

Collection Managers and Exhibition Registrar:

  • ensure staff understand requirements
  • apply negotiated improvements in storage and handling procedures to minimise further risk

The Collections Disaster Coordinator conducts a post disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken
  • prepare a written report on the incident
  • propose longer term and / or wider changes to collection storage and handling policies and procedures if necessary
  • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

8.6 High Dust Levels

8.6.1 Immediate Actions

When you find abnormally high dust levels in the air or on flat surfaces in collection areas:

1. assess the situation:

  • is collection material being affected or likely to be affected?
  • is it apparent where the dust might be coming from?
  • can you tell what the dust consists of (eg greasy, sooty, metallic, concrete, etc)
  • is the dust likely to cause OH&S problems?

2. ring the Building and Security Services Branch Help Desk

3. ring or page the Collections Disaster Coordinator or Preservation Services

4. When contact has been made commence short and long term response and recovery actions for material affected by high dust levels

8.6.2 Short Term Response and Long Term Recovery Actions

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch:

  • assesses the situation in consultation with the Collections Disaster Coordinator
  • arranges for a thorough inspection of the building to identify other affected areas
  • coordinates control of dust levels in the area by:
    • locating and controlling the dust source
    • rectifying equipment faults
    • organising a thorough clean up of the area

If necessary to protect collection material from further damage, the Collections Disaster Coordinator and/or the Collection Manager/ Exhibition Registrar:

  • organises temporary covering of the material using plastic sheeting
  • organises temporary restriction of access to material which might be damaged by abrasion and handling

When nationally significant material, original artworks and special collections material is affected the Collections Disaster Coordinator and or the Collection Manager /Exhibition Registrar plans and arranges for a cleaning program for the material, to be carried out or closely supervised by Preservation Services staff

When other collection material housed on book stacks has been affected the Collections Disaster Coordinator arranges for cleaning teams to be set up, instructed in cleaning techniques and supervised by Preservation Services staff

When collections and storage areas have been cleaned, the Collections Disaster Coordinator conducts a post disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken
  • prepare a written report on the incident
  • propose changes to Building and Security Services Branch procedures if necessary
  • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

8.7 Mould Outbreak

8.7.1 Immediate Actions

If you find a situation which may indicate the presence of active mould:

1. assess the situation:

  • is the outbreak confined to a small area, or widespread?
  • is collection material being affected?
  • is the material still damp or wet?
  • is the outbreak apparently associated with a current water leak, an old water leak, or with high ambient humidity?

2. ring the Collections Disaster Coordinator or Preservation Services

3. ring the Building and Security Services Branch Help Desk

4. do not handle or attempt to remove affected collection material - handling may constitute a health hazard to you and an increased risk of physical damage to the material

If the outbreak is associated with a current water leak respond as for a water leak, follow directions in section 7.3: water and/or sewage leak but include steps appropriate to mouldy material in handling, sorting, and fumigation

If there is no current water leak commence short term response actions for either small or large mould outbreak

8.7.2 Small mould outbreak in collections

Short Term Response Actions

The Collections Disaster Coordinator and the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch:

  • assess the situation and investigate the reasons for the outbreak
  • arrange for a thorough inspection of adjacent areas to identify other affected material

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch coordinates stabilisation of the environment by:

  • locating and controlling the source of moisture
  • controlling humidity and temperature within appropriate levels
  • rectifying equipment malfunction
  • maintaining airflow through the area
  • organising for the area to be cleaned thoroughly

The Collections Disaster Coordinator:

  • in consultation with relevant Collection Managers and /or Exhibition Registrar and Collection Development staff assesses affected collection material
  • coordinates an appropriate treatment response in consultation with Collection Managers and acquisitions staff
  • ensures records of all material movements are maintained at all times

When the situation is stabilised commence long term recovery actions for mould outbreak - small

8.7.3 Small mould outbreak in collections

Long Term Recovery Actions

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch:

  • arranges for close monitoring of the environmental conditions
  • organises for the area to be cleaned thoroughly when affected collection material has been removed

Preservation Services staff:

  • remove affected collection material from the area
  • assess material and process items prioritised for fumigation and / or repair
  • package and send material that cannot be adequately fumigated in-house to an outside fumigation company
  • arrange for freezing, vacuum freeze drying and fumigation where necessary
  • return fumigated, treated and checked material to the collections

Acquisitions staff:

  • process collection material identified for replacement or discard

The Collections Disaster Coordinator conducts a post disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken
  • prepare a written report on the incident
  • propose changes to collection management procedures if necessary
  • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

8.7.4 Large mould outbreak in collections

Short Term Response Actions

The Collections Disaster Coordinator and the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch:

  • assess the situation and investigate the reasons for the outbreak
  • arrange for a thorough inspection of adjacent areas and an inspection of the rest of the building to identify other affected areas

The Collections Disaster Coordinator:

  • assesses the material
  • assembles Collection Managers if necessary
  • ensures that EPC is informed of the situation regarding collections by advising Assistant DG Australian Collections and Reader Services or Assistant DG Corporate Services
  • ensures the Communications Emergency Coordinator is informed of the situation
  • formulates a short term action plan
  • assesses short term staff and equipment needs
  • arranges for a NLA Photographer to photograph all stages of the action plan

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch coordinates stabilisation of the environment by:

  • locating and controlling the source of moisture
  • controlling humidity and temperature within appropriate levels
  • rectifying equipment malfunction
  • maintaining airflow through the area

When the situation is stabilised:

  • commence long term recovery actions for mould outbreak - large

8.7.5 Large mould outbreak in collections

Long Term Recovery Actions

The Security Controller allocates guards to keep non-essential personnel out of the affected area.

When the outbreak is major the Collections Disaster Coordinator:

  • requests the EPC to meet for a briefing
  • arranges for Collection Managers to conduct a full inspection of the area and assess the situation
  • arranges for a disaster recovery command post to be established with necessary furniture and equipment

Following the inspection, the Collections Disaster Coordinator and the Collection Managers:

  • determine broad priorities for action
  • formulate an action plan
  • determine the staff resources needed to undertake salvage
  • establish priorities for salvage of collection material
  • brief the EPC on the situation

Salvage priority is generally given to:

1. nationally significant material, as listed on the Register of items of national significance, with the advice of collection managers

2. material in formats requiring urgent attention (artworks, original materials with water soluble media, coated papers, magnetic media, photographs, microform masters)

3. other special collection materials

Other collection material should then be salvaged.

When priorities have been established, the Collections Disaster Coordinator, the EPC and Collection Managers allocate responsibilities, including responsibilities for:

  • assembling salvage teams
  • obtaining necessary supplies of materials, equipment, services and expertise for salvage. Lists of material on hand in Emergency Cabinets is in Section 3. Contact numbers of outside suppliers, and for other institutions are in Appendix 2 and 3. Special attention must be given to the protective clothing required for handling mouldy materials
  • arranging facilities for salvage workers including food and drink, rest facilities, and protective clothing
  • ensuring Senior Management are kept informed
  • ensuring the Communications Emergency Coordinator is kept informed and coordinates contact with news media
  • allocating teams to appropriate salvage areas and tasks (co-ordinated by Preservation Services staff)
  • ensuring all collection movements are fully documented and any containers labelled by designated record keepers
  • briefing teams / team leaders on the situation and on their duties (Preservation Services Staff)
  • providing instructions to salvage teams including OH&S instructions (Preservation Services staff)
  • troubleshooting for salvage teams (usually Pres Services staff)
  • attending to special needs of highest priority items (Preservation Services staff)
  • setting up sorting areas for salvaged material, with plastic covered tables
  • sorting material - assessing, separating, routing for fumigation, air drying, freezing, special emergency treatment (co-ordinated by Preservation Services staff)

Teams commence salvage operations under instructions from their team leaders and designated Preservation Services officers. (Special Handling Instructions and general principles for water damaged and/or mouldy material can be found in Section 8.

As material is salvaged:

  • Preservation Services or other allocated staff assess and sort material for immediate fumigation, air drying, freezing, special emergency treatment
  • Collections staff assess material and decide on replacement, disposal or treatment in consultation with Preservation Services staff
  • material is transported using trolleys, boxes, crates, or other suitable containers
  • material for freezing is loaded onto pallets and placed into freezer trucks using a forklift

Note: salvage of wet library material is heavy work. Team leaders are responsible for team use of appropriate lifting and transport equipment and for ensuring members have regular rest periods. Salvage of mouldy material is particularly hazardous and team leaders are responsible for ensuring team members use protective equipment properly.

The Collections Disaster Coordinator, the EPC and the Collection Managers monitor progress and adjust plans as appropriate. Particular attention needs to be given to bottlenecks, complaints from salvage workers, the effect of environmental conditions, the adequacy of supplies of materials, equipment, expertise, personnel, space, security of collection material.

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch continues to coordinate the control of temperature, relative humidity and air quality to facilitate the salvage operation and minimise risks of subsequent damage to the collections.

When the salvage operation is completed in an area the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch coordinates restoration of the affected areas

  • Senior Library Management and the EPC coordinate return to normal operations
  • Preservation Services manage the treatment of damaged material and assess when it would be appropriate for material to be returned to storage

When short and long term recovery actions are completed the Collections Disaster Coordinator and the EPC members conduct a full post-disaster assessment to:

1. analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken

2. prepare a written report on the incident including:

  • cause of the disaster
  • number of items damaged, replaced, discarded, and repaired
  • ongoing treatment costs (inc. fumigation and cleaning)
  • staff time expended during the operation
  • cost of restoring the affected area
  • cost of equipment and supplies

3. make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

4. propose changes to collection management procedures if necessary

5. send letters of thanks to those who assisted

8.8 Vandalism of Collection Material

8.8.1 Immediate Actions

When you find collection material which is being or has been vandalised:

1. assess the situation:

  • is the material at risk of further damage?
  • is it safe to leave the material to get assistance?
  • is it safe to intervene?

2. if immediate assistance is needed and it is safe to leave the material, or not safe to intervene contact Security

3. contact Exhibition Registrar - if Exhibition areas affected

When it is safe to do so, commence short and long term recovery actions.

8.8.2 Short Term Response and Long Term Recovery Actions

When any current threats have been attended to:

  • refer the material to Preservation Services with a filled in yellow treatment request form, or ring the Collections Disaster Coordinator or Preservation Services
  • report the incident to the Director, Reader Services for follow up if the person causing the damage can be traced

Any vandalism should be reported to the Security Operations Co-ordinator for appropriate investigation.

Preservation Services staff:

  • assess the material and develop appropriate treatment actions in consultation with collection managers
  • treat material identified for repair and return to the collections

Acquisitions staff:

  • process material identified for replacement or disposal

The Collections Disaster Coordinator conducts a post disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken
  • prepare a written report on the incident
  • propose changes to security and exhibition procedures if necessary
  • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

8.9 Insect and Vermin Infestation

8.9.1 Immediate Actions

If you find a situation which may indicate the presence of active insects or other pests such as rodents:

1. assess the situation -

  • what type of infestation is it?
  • is it a small or large infestation?
  • is collection material being affected?

2. ring or page Security or the Building and Security Services Branch Help Desk

3. ring the Collections Disaster Coordinator or Preservation Services if collection material is being affected

4. If in Exhibition Areas contact Exhibition Registrar

5. when contact has been made, commence short term response actions for insect and vermin infestation

8.9.2 Short Term Response Actions

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch:

  • assesses the infestation in consultation with Preservation Services staff
  • if necessary, arranges for samples to be referred to outside agencies for identification
  • arranges for a thorough inspection of adjacent areas and an inspection of the rest of the building to identify other affected areas
  • coordinates pest control procedures in the affected area

If collection material has been affected the Collections Disaster Coordinator:

  • assesses the material
  • coordinates an appropriate treatment response in consultation with collection managers and acquisitions staff
  • ensures records of all material movements are maintained at all times

When the situation is stabilised commence long term recovery actions for insect and vermin infestation

8.9.3 Long Term Recovery Actions

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch:

  • supervises appropriate pest control procedures, carried out by the Library's pest control contractor
  • arranges for close monitoring of the area for signs of re-infestation

Preservation Services staff:

  • process collection material prioritised for fumigation and / or repair
  • package and send material that cannot be adequately fumigated in-house to an outside fumigation company
  • return fumigated, treated and checked material to the collections

Acquisitions staff:

  • process collection material identified for replacement or discard

The Collections Disaster Coordinator conducts a post disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken
  • prepare a written report on the incident
  • propose changes to integrated pest management procedures if necessary
  • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

8.10 Disasters affecting material belonging to other owners in care of NLA

8.10.1 Immediate Actions

When damage occurs to material in the care of the NLA belonging to other owners:

1. assess the situation:

  • what type of disaster is it?
  • what type of material is it?

2. contact the Collections Disaster Coordinator or Preservation Services

3. contact Exhibition Registrar

4. do not touch or remove material which does not belong to NLA which has been threatened or damaged by disaster except under the direction of the Collections Disaster Coordinator

5. however, it should be protected from risk of further damage from water, dust, or vandalism by commencing appropriate short term response action as soon as possible

8.10.2 Short Term Response and Long Term Recovery Actions

After following the short term actions for water leaks, dust, vandalism, fire, etc as appropriate, to stabilise and protect the material, the Collections Disaster Coordinator and Exhibition Registrar arranges for documentation photographs to be taken by a NLA photographer, and for full damage documentation to be completed by Preservation Services (only preliminary documentation may be possible until further handling is approved by the owner).

Where loaned exhibition material is affected, the Exhibition Registrar contacts the owner to:

  • advise them of the incident
  • report on the immediate and short term response action taken
  • consult on what action should be taken
  • seek approval for further action if appropriate
  • provide final report on incident

Preservation Services staff carry out long term actions as approved by the owner.

The Collections Disaster Coordinator conducts a post disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken
  • prepare a written report on the incident
  • propose changes to security and exhibition procedures if necessary
  • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

8.11 Bomb Damage

When the situation is safe, the building and services have been stabilised and re-entry to the site is permitted commence immediate disaster actions

8.11.1 Immediate Actions

The Collections Disaster Coordinator in consultation with the EPC assesses the situation to:

  • establish if collection material has been affected and in what way
  • check that shelving and fittings are structurally sound
  • check the need for short term protection of the collections from water, theft, exposure to fluctuating outside environmental conditions

When the situation has been assessed:

  • commence short and long term response actions

8.11.2 Short Term Response and Long Term Recovery Actions

Where collection material has been water affected it will be treated as water affected

  • follow directions in Section 7.3 short and long term response and recovery actions for water and /or sewage leak, either large or small
  • follow directions in Section 8 Special Handling Instructions for General Physical Damage, Water Damage, and Fire Damage

Where material has not been water damaged but is blast damaged the Collections Disaster Coordinator assesses situation and in consultation with the EPC and Collection Managers determine a strategy for salvage

Salvage priority is given to items of particular national significance and unique material

Where windows and / or external walls have been blown out:

  • the Collections Disaster Coordinator and the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch consult on the most appropriate means of protecting the collection against the elements and against unsuitable environmental conditions
  • the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch arranges for stabilisation of the building environment if practicable
  • otherwise, the Collections Disaster Coordinator arranges for movement of particularly vulnerable material and covering of collections

When short and long term actions are completed:

1. the Collections Disaster Coordinator and EPC members conduct a full post-disaster assessment to:

2. analyse the successful and failing aspects of the immediate, short and long term actions taken

3. prepare a written report on the incident including:

  • cause of the disaster
  • number of items damaged, replaced, discarded, and repaired
  • ongoing treatment costs
  • impact on service provision to clients
  • staff time expended during the operation
  • cost of restoring the affected area
  • cost of equipment and supplies

4. make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

5. propose changes to security and Building and Security Services Branch procedures if necessary

6. send letters of thanks to those assisted

8.12 Disasters Outside The Building: Hume Warehouse and NLA Annex

8.12.1 Immediate Actions

Assess the situation:

  • what type of disaster is it?
  • has the disaster caused injury to people?
  • what type of material is involved?
  • is collection material secure?

If the incident has resulted in personal injury and/or damage to Library equipment:

  • Ring the emergency number

or

  • Contact your supervisor in the Library building and advise them of the incident

If collection material is affected:

  • Ring the Collections Disaster Coordinator

If safe to do so take action to protect affected material using the emergency supplies provided

  • at the Hume Warehouse an emergency supply cabinet is located in the storage area outside the staff work room
  • at the NLA Annex an emergency supply cabinet is located near the front door.

If the disaster involves failure or malfunction of Library property:

  • Ring the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch

8.12.2 Short and Long Term Actions

The Collections Disaster Coordinator advises Managers responsible for the affected area of the situation.

Where material belonging to other owners is affected follow directions in section 8.9

The Collections Disaster Coordinator assesses available information on the incident and develops an appropriate short term action plan for affected collection material including:

  • coordinating its return to the Library, where possible, for assessment
  • referral to other disaster action procedures applicable to the incident
  • inspection of the disaster site
  • stabilisation of the disaster site
  • consultation with Collection Managers

The Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch assesses available information on the incident and co-ordinates stabilisation restoration of affected Library equipment and property.

Where the disaster has occurred in a building under management by another organisation the Building Manager, Building and Security Services Branch will liaise with that management to develop an acceptable restoration plan for the affected area.

The Collections Disaster Coordinator conducts a post disaster assessment to:

  • analyse the success of immediate, short and long term actions
  • prepare a written report on the incident
  • make changes to the disaster plan where necessary

Section 9: Special handling instructions: disaster affected collection material

9.1 Introduction

To avoid causing further damage to disaster affected collection material, staff should refer to the following special handling instructions. Appropriate handling depends on the type of material and the type and severity of the damage.

Material covered in this section includes:

  • Books, journals, pamphlets and newspapers
  • Large format sheet material
  • Small format sheet material
  • Artworks on paper
  • Easel paintings
  • Vellum, parchment and leather material
  • Photographic material
  • Electronic and magnetic media

9.2 Books, Journals, Pamphlets and Newspapers

9.2.1 Water Damage

During retrieval:

  • Take care with wet books. If a book is wet and open leave it open. If it is wet and closed, leave it closed
  • Do not remove covers or dust jackets from books
  • Pack books into boxes and crates spine down. Interleave books with freezer paper
  • Do not pack books too tightly
  • Where books are saturated wear rubber gloves when handling them
  • Do not press saturated books and/or documents to remove water. Pressing can damage book structures and force dirt and mud into the paper surface
  • Do not wipe soiling or mud from wet books
  • Clear books from the floor, then remove books from shelves top to bottom
  • Damp books should be frozen if the relative humidity is over 55%
  • Remove the wettest books from the area first to reduce relative humidity

During recovery:

  • Book and paper restoration starts with either air or vacuum freeze drying
  • Books with coated/glossy papers should be frozen then vacuum freeze dried where possible
  • Always use cold air to air dry wet books
  • Marginally wet books can be air dried using fanning and/or interleaving methods
  • Mud or silt affected books should be cleaned before they completely dry but can be frozen for later treatment
  • Do not wash the following categories of items:
    • open or swollen volumes
    • vellum or parchment bindings or pages
    • leather bindings
    • fragile or brittle materials
    • materials with water soluble components

9.2.2 Mould

  • Do not wipe mould from wet (or dry) books
  • Wet mouldy books should be frozen then vacuum freeze dried and fumigated before cleaning
  • People with a history of allergies and respiratory illness should not handle or clean mouldy items

9.2.3 Fire Damage

  • Fire damaged books should be handled as little as possible during the retrieval and recovery process
  • All fire damaged material should be assumed to be fragile
  • Wrap fire damaged books in clean unprinted paper or freezer paper and place between cardboard sheets for protection. Clearly label all packages
  • Burned and wet books should be frozen for later treatment

9.2.4 Dust

  • Book collections affected by dust should be vacuum cleaned on site where possible

9.2.5 General Physical Damage

  • Ensure that books and loose parts such as spines, covers and pages are packaged together prior to treatment. Shrink wrapping, boxing, bagging and foldering can be used

9.2.6 Contamination

  • Books contaminated by sewage fire retardants, or other material should be rinsed where possible prior to handling and packaging for recovery
  • Always wear protective clothing and gloves when handling contaminated material

9.3 Large Sheet Material

Maps, Plans, Posters, Prints

9.3.2 Water damage

  • Do not wipe mould from wet (or dry) large format items
  • Handle wet large format material with extreme care
  • Handle items with water soluble media as for artworks on paper, Section 8.5
  • Do not attempt to separate wet large format material during retrieval.
  • If the material is rolled, leave it rolled. If it is flat, leave it flat
  • Generally, wet large format items should be frozen for later drying and treatment, particularly if relative humidity is above 55%
  • Transport the material using its housing ie: folders, boxes, drawers. Where this is not possible, transport flat or rolled with support
  • Small amounts of wet large format items can be carefully air dried

9.3.2 Mould

  • Do not wipe mould from wet (or dry) large format items
  • Wet mouldy items should be frozen then dried and fumigated before cleaning
  • Mouldy items should be fumigated before cleaning

9.3.3 Fire Damage

  • All fire damaged large format items should be handled and treated as extremely fragile
  • Fire damaged items should be handled as little as possible prior to treatment
  • Wet fire damaged items should be frozen for later drying and treatment

9.3.4 Dust

  • Dust affected large format items should be transported as for water damaged items for cleaning

9.3.5 General Physical Damage

  • Ensure all parts of the item are kept together prior to treatment

9.3.6 Contamination

  • Always wear protective clothing and gloves when handling contaminated material
  • Non water soluble items can be lightly rinsed under supervision of a conservator
  • Water soluble items should be packaged in plastic and frozen for future treatment

9.4 Small Sheet Material

(Manuscripts, Ephemera, Music Files)

9.4.1 Water Damage

  • Loose, unbound small format sheet material can usually be air dried provided they can be separated into small piles and a sufficient amount of dehumidified cool air introduced
  • Large unmanageable amounts can be packed for freezing. Papers should be separated into groups up to 5 cm thick and packed into crates interleaved with freezer paper
  • Do not attempt to separate groups of wet single sheet material into single sheets. Single items found in masses can be separated easily if frozen then vacuum freeze dried
  • Keep single sheet material together and in order during all stages of the retrieval and recovery process
  • Leave office files in suspension hangers in filing cabinet drawers and air dry with cool air in a well ventilated area
  • Take care when removing wet material from wet or damaged storage boxes. Do not overturn boxes to remove material
  • Where masses of material is wet, remove the wettest first to reduce relative humidity
  • Do not wipe soiling or mud from wet paper
  • Do not press groups of saturated papers to remove water

9.4.2 Mould

Do not wipe mould from wet (or dry) papers

  • Wet mouldy papers should be frozen then vacuum freeze dried and fumigated before cleaning
  • People with a history of allergies and respiratory illness should not handle or clean mouldy items

9.4.3 Fire Damage

  • All fire damaged small format sheet material should be treated as fragile and handled with extreme care
  • Wrap groups of fire damaged material in clean unprinted paper and place in crates for transport. Clearly label all packages
  • Burned and wet material should be frozen for later treatment

9.4.4 Dust

  • Where possible vacuum clean dust affected material on site

9.4.5 General Physical Damage

  • Ensure that all items including their loose parts are kept together prior to treatment. Bags, folders, boxes and pockets can be used

9.4.6 Contamination

  • Small format sheet material can be rinsed of contamination where possible prior to packaging for recovery
  • Always wear protective clothing and gloves when handling contaminated material

9.5 Artworks on Paper

9.5.1 Water Damage

  • Handle with extreme care
  • Do not attempt to separate sheets adhered together
  • Do not blot the surface of artworks on paper which have water soluble media
  • Interleave artworks in folders
  • Transport artworks flat with supports or in their containers, ie: solander boxes, map drawers
  • Unframe framed artworks by laying them face down on a smooth clean, padded surface. Remove any excess water by carefully blotting from the back
  • Where possible artworks should be air dried
  • Where there are problems such as mould, warped saturated backings and works adhered together it may be appropriate to freeze and vacuum freeze dry

9.5.2 Mould

  • Do not attempt to wipe away mould from wet (or dry) art works
  • Wet artworks should be air dried as soon as possible if relative humidity is above 55% to prevent mould attack
  • Where there is too much material to air dry artworks should be frozen and vacuum freeze dried then appropriately treated

9.5.3 Fire Damage

  • Fire damaged artworks should be handled with extreme care prior to treatment
  • Transport fire damaged artworks in their containers, ie; solander boxes, map drawers
  • Fire damaged wet artworks should be frozen and vacuum freeze dried prior to treatment

9.5.4 Dust

  • Dust affected artworks on paper should be interleaved in folders and transported flat with supports for treatment

9.5.5 General Physical Damage

  • Ensure all parts of the artwork remain together prior to treatment

9.6 Vellum, Parchment, Leather

9.6.1 Water Damage

  • Handle wet vellum, parchment and leather very carefully. Always use a support such as cardboard to handle this material
  • Wet vellum, parchment and leather should be air dried where possible. A combination of tension and pressure drying may be required to dry this material successfully. Slow and gentle blotting of saturated areas can enhance drying
  • Where freezing is necessary, vellum, parchment and leather items should be separated with freezer paper during packing

9.7 Easel Paintings

  • Always consult a qualified paintings conservator prior to retrieval and recovery

9.7.1 Water Damage

  • Drain away excess water before transporting
  • Transport horizontally, image upward where possible. If not, carry the painting facing towards you, holding the sides of the frame with the palms of your hands
  • Use more than one person to transport larger paintings
  • Water damaged easel paintings must never be frozen. They should be appropriately air dried immediately
  • Where possible paintings should be unframed before drying
  • Easel paintings should be dried flat and face up on clean padded surfaces

9.7.2 Fire Damage

  • Fire damaged easel paintings should be handled as little as possible prior to specialised assessment and treatment

9.7.3 Mould

  • Do not wipe mould from wet (or dry) easel paintings

9.7.4 Dust

  • Transport as for water damaged paintings or where possible have the paintings cleaned by a conservator on site

9.7.5 General Physical Damage

  • Ensure paintings and loose parts are kept together prior to treatment

9.7.6 Contamination

  • Easel painting should be assessed by a paintings conservator before action can be taken

9.8 Photographic Materials

(Albums, Microfiche, Microfilm, Motion Picture Film, Photographs, Negatives, Reel Film)

Water Damage

  • In general photographic materials should be frozen only if they cannot be appropriately air dried or dried by running through a processor. Freezing can cause damage to the emulsion layer. If freezing is necessary a blast freezer should be used

9.8.1 Albums

  • Albums should be handled as for books and journals but freezing and particularly freeze drying should be avoided

9.8.2 Wet Collodion Photographs

  • Wet collodion photographs ie: ambrotypes, pannotypes, tintypes and wet collodion glass negatives should be given priority and salvaged without delay and air dried. Handle very carefully and keep face up at all times

9.8.3 Daguerreotypes

  • Handle very carefully and keep face up at all times
  • Air dry immediately, checking that moisture has not entered the sealed image

9.8.4 Wet Glass Negatives and Photographs

  • Wet glass negatives and photographs should be kept wet. If dry, keep them dry
  • Glass plates should be packed vertically and each plate interleaved with spun bonded polyester. Take care to pack out spaces to prevent movement during transport. Use small, strong boxes

9.8.5 Photographs on Paper

  • Non water soluble photographs which are wet should be kept wet until they can be washed and air dried or treated by a commercial laboratory
  • Do not allow prints to remain wet for longer than 48 hours before treatment as emulsions and coloured layers may begin to separate

9.8.6 Photographic Negatives - (Black and White)

  • If negatives are wet keep them wet in plastic containers of clean distilled water. If they are dry keep them dry
  • If negatives are to be kept wet for more than 24 hours add 1% formalin to the water container to prevent mould growth
  • Emulsions can separate from the plastic carrier if left too long in water
  • Where large amounts of photographic negatives are wet they can be blast frozen in small groups in polythene bags

9.8.7 Photographic Negatives - (Colour)

  • A processing laboratory should handle wet colour negatives

9.8.8 Nitrate Negatives

  • Do not touch the emulsion surfaces
  • Nitrate negatives should be frozen immediately and air dried

9.8.9 Acetate Negatives

  • Acetate based microfilm should be treated as for any other microfilm type (see: 8.8.12)
  • Remove from enclosures and separate to prevent blocking.
  • If dirty/contaminated or very wet, wash in clean water and allow to air dry.
  • Air dry if clean.

9.8.10 Motion Picture Film

  • Motion picture film should be left in its container. The container should be filled with fresh clean water, packed flat into water tight containers and shipped to a commercial processor for treatment

9.8.11 Reel Film

  • Do not allow reel film to dry out while rolled up
  • Keep film wet and transport it to a commercial processor or air dry if clean

9.8.12 Microfiche, Microfilm and Apperture Cards

  • If the master copy is unaffected discard the wet service copy and create a new duplicate
  • Do not allow silver halide microfilm or microfiche to dry out. Keep immersed and send to a commercial processor for treatment
  • Vesicular and diazo microfilm can be washed under cold fresh running water and air dried

9.9 Optical and Magnetic Media

Compact Disks, Computer Disks (Floppy Disks), Oral History Tapes (reel-to-reel, digital audio (DAT) cassettes), Video Tapes

Optical and magnetic media are an area of development where formats are being upgraded continuously. The special handling instructions listed below for this material reflect current thinking. During emergencies involving this material care should be taken to ensure actions reflect technological change and treatments are appropriate.

Note: Vacuum cleaners and other equipment with electric motors should not be used near magnetic media. Long suction hoses can be used to keep vacuum cleaners clear of this material

9.9.1 Water damage

  • If this material can be restored to a useable standard, it should be copied and then disposed of
  • It is possible to save information on slightly wet computer software discs by blow drying them with cool air. Copy the dry disk and discard
  • Wet disks need to be removed from their plastic cases, wiped dry with a clean, soft, lint free cloth, placed into a new case, copied and discarded
  • The longer a disk is wet the greater the information loss

9.9.2 Optical media (Compact Disks)

  • Remove from water immediately
  • Remove from containers and carriers
  • Do not bend or scratch
  • Rinse off any dirt, mud with clean, distilled water
  • DO NOT SOAK
  • Drip dry in dish drain or rack, vertical not flat (away from sunlight)
  • Clean with soft, dry lintless cloth
  • Move cloth perpendicular to grooves
  • DO NOT MOVE IN A CIRCULAR MOTION
  • Place cleaned compact discs in clean containers or recopy and
  • discard original

9.9.3 Floppy Disks

  • Water affected 3½" and 5¼" disks are likely to be permanently damaged.
  • If salvage of these disks is absolutely necessary, the disks can be removed from their jackets, gently agitated in cool distilled water, air dried, placed in a new cover and copied. There is an extreme risk of damage to hardware (ie disk drives).

9.9.4 Magnetic Tapes (Oral History Tapes, Video Tapes, Computer Tapes)

  • Magnetic tapes are especially affected by water and wet tapes may not be salvageable
  • Reel to reel tapes may be cleaned and air dried, but should be disposed of after copying
  • Wet cassettes and cartridges are difficult to open and dry and will most likely be lost