Records Emergency Information

General Public

Preparing before an emergency strikes can help minimize damage whether from a minor plumbing leak or a catastrophic natural disaster. When an emergency does occur, effective response and recovery actions can help you preserve your personal papers, documents, photographs, objects, and family treasures.


Prepare in advance so damage to records can be prevented. When records are damaged, response and recovery techniques will limit damage and allow more records to be saved.

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.

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.

Immediate Response

Information by Media Type

Paper (unbound documents, maps, drawings, posters)

Leather and Parchment

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

Audio and Video (tapes, disks)

Electronic Media (hard drives, diskettes, CDs)


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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.


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