Federal Records Management

AC 05.2013

October 31, 2012


As you know, Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage along the east coast of the United States this week. Federal agencies from Virginia through the New England states have been affected by high winds, heavy rains, and potential flooding from this historic storm.

Depending on the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, it may be necessary for your agency to implement a records recovery operation. To ensure a successful response, it is critical that you set aside time now to investigate what actions may be necessary to salvage and preserve your agency's at-risk Federal records.

Your appraisal archivist is standing by to advise you, and will be contacting you in the coming days to determine if any records in your agency have been damaged or destroyed. If records have been lost or damaged beyond the point of recovery, you must report the details to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) through your appraisal archivist as soon as possible.

Specific requirements for reporting the loss of records are found in 36 CFR 1230.14. If damaged records become a menace to life, health, or property, you must request approval from NARA before destroying the records according to the provisions of 36 CFR 1229.10.

The following links provide information and resources to assist you with responding to and recovering from this weather emergency. For further advice and assistance, please contact the appraisal archivist assigned to your agency. A list of agency staff assignments and points of contact are posted at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/index.html. In addition to support from your appraisal archivist, NARA's Federal Records Centers Program (FRCP) is offering the following services to assist you in returning to normal operations:

  • Expedited transfer processing to send records to your FRC
  • FastPack services within the local area of your FRC
    • Records that are clean and dry will be packed and prepared for shipping to your FRC
    • Records that are wet and damaged will be packed and prepared for shipping to a records recovery facility where your agency has a contract for such services.

If you have a need for these services, please contact your FRCP Account Manager. To identify your account manager, please go to http://archives.gov/frc/acct-reps.html.

Preservation Resources

Water damage will likely be the major records recovery issue. Our website has specific information for Federal agencies needing to implement recovery operations.


In addition, you will find a template for contracting for records recovery services:


You will also find a list of records recovery vendors. This list of vendors is provided by NARA for informational purposes. Inclusion on the list should not be viewed as an endorsement of the quality of the vendor's services.

If you require specific guidance on records recovery and preservation issues, please contact Doris Hamburg, NARA's Director of the Preservation Programs Division, on (301) 837-1785 or via email at doris.hamburg@nara.gov, or Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Chief of the Conservation Branch, on (301) 837-2906 or via email at marylynn.ritzenthaler@nara.gov.

On behalf of NARA's records management and preservation staff, I would like to assure you that we understand the challenges you face in working through these issues. We stand ready to support you with advice and resources and are looking forward to hearing from you regarding the status of your Federal records that may have been affected by the storm.


Chief Records Officer
for the U.S. Government