Preservation

Prepare

Reduce damage and loss, and control salvage and recovery costs, by carrying out records emergency planning. This includes:

  • documenting and managing risk factors
  • developing a written Records Emergency Plan to manage response, salvage and recovery efforts
  • training key staff members in implementing your plan

NARA bases records emergency planning at all of its nationwide facilities on NARA 1561: Records Emergency Preparedness and Recovery.

Additional advice and information of particular interest to other federal agencies as well as state, local and tribal authorities from NARA Records Management can be found here: Vital Records and Records Disaster Mitigation and Recovery.

Look at the types of risks you face including potential natural disasters or issues with your location and building; and how the types of records you have may be affected by water damage, extreme temperature and humidity conditions, mold and insects or other types of contamination. The Additional Resources pages have information from NARA and other sources on planning and risk management that may help.

Review the records formats and media types you have, and investigate potential damage and recovery procedures that may be needed. Incorporate basic response procedures for the most common types of records you have in your planning, and provide training for staff. The Recovery Procedures and the Additional Resources pages can help you.

Plan ahead if you think you might need assistance from commercial records recovery services. The Contracting Records Recovery Services page has links to a list of possible Records Recovery Services, and website links to examples of some of the commercial vendors who provide these services as a starting point. This is by no means a definitive list, and these links are provided for information only, and aren’t an endorsement by NARA.

A generic Performance Work Statement and Contracting Template has been provided based on NARA contracts for records recovery services, which can be adapted to provide a starting point in your records emergency plan.

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