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Disaster Preparedness, Recovery & Resilience

Natural and human made disasters pose risks to culturally and historically significant resources, including:

  • Buildings, structures, and historic districts
  • Artifacts and collections
  • Lists and databases
  • Cultural events and activities
  • Access to sacred places and environmental assets (such as indigenous first foods)

These resources have also be determined critical factors in community recovery. They provide an anchor to community identity and shared experience needed for resilience.

Heritage organizations should be working on thier disaster preparation and should be front and center in community emergency planning! Use the resources below to make this critical work happen.

​General resources for the emergency and disaster preparedness and preservation of heritage resources including historic properties and collections.

Oregon Office of Emergency Management
List of Emergency Managers in Oregon by County
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Oregon Guide to Emergency Preparedness Resources prepared by the Balboa Conservation Center, 2015
Oregon Nonprofit Preparedness Report, Nonprofit Association of Oregon 2018

Heritage resources are cirtical to community recovery and resilience following a disaster. Part of your organizational disaster planning should be the promote this value of your organization, and to be at the table in community planning.
Culture in City Reconstruction & Recovery, UNESCO

​An emergency has occurred and it is time to respond. Heritage recources are cirtical for community recovery, so your organization needs to be there. Even if you have a plan and didn't implement it, or if you didn't have a plan at all you can still access recovery resources.

Pocket Response Plan (PReP)
Oregon Guide to Emergency Preparedness Resources, Balboa Arts Conservation Center 2015
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Institute for Museum and Library Services
American Association for State and Local History
Minnesota Historical Society Disaster Response and Recovery Resources
Treatment for Flood Damaged & Older Buildings

​Heritage resources are cirtical for community health and recovery in a disaster. Organizations that care for and promote these resources must establish a plan to be prepared for and mitigate damage from emergencies and disasters. Working together within a community to establish goals and acccess resources is good way to prioritize this work.

The following model organizational plans, community-wide plan, and guidebook to develop these plans in your own community were created by Oregon Heritage in partnership with:
Institute for Policy Research & Engagement
City of Cottage Grove
Bohemia Gold Mining Museum
Cottage Grove Genealogical Society
Cottage Grove Historical Society
Cottage Grove Museum
Downtown Cottage Grove, Inc

The project was funded in part by the Oregon Cultural Trust.


Disaster Resilience Plan for Heritage Resources in Cottage Grove
Cottage Grove Historical Society Resilience Plan
Cottage Grove Museum Disaster Resilience Plan
Cottage Grove Disaster Plan

Guidebook & Tools

Guidebook - Use this to assit in creating an organizational plan or a community-wide plan. Appendices inlcude guidance for Tribal, consultation, meeting agenda templates, organization survey questions and plan templates, model community survey, scripts, plan templates, and other resources.
Videos - The following videos supplement the Guidebook.
A Resilience Approach to Disaster Planning for Heritage Resources - Introduction
A Resilience Approach to Disaster Planning for Heritage Resources - Cultural Resilience Framework
A Resilience Approach to Disaster Planning for Heritage Resources - Data Collection & Engagement
A Resilience Approach to Disaster Planning for Heritage Resources - Lessons Learned from Cottage Grove

Free Workshops
Oregon Heritage is offering worksops targeted at various types of heritage organizations to provide specific disaster planning and response information and to share information about this community planning process.
•    Fire Recovery and Community Disaster Resilience Planning for Historic Cemeteries
November 17, 1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Historic Preservation Northwest will provide training on recovery from fire in a historic cemetery. Then the Institute for Policy Research & Engagement will share the community planning guide and its value to historic cemeteries.
Register to receive Zoom meeting information.
•    Disaster Preparedness and Resilience for Collecting Organizations
December 2, 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Oregon State Archives will provide basic disaster planning including identifying & prioritizing, assessing risk, and protecting essential
records and collections. Then the Institute for Policy Research & Engagement will share the community planning guide and its value to historical collecting organizations like museums, archives and libraries.
Register to receive the Zoom meeting information.
•    Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Main Streets
•    Disaster Preparedness and recovery for Historic Properties & Districts

Oregon Wildfire Response and Recovery Resources

On 9/15/2020 a disaster was declared for affected Oregon counties. For a map of the designated areas and level of designation and for information as it released on assistance, visit here.

Special message from Oregon Heritage on Wildfire Recovery & Response

On 9/15/2020 a disaster was declared for affected Oregon counties. For a map of the designated areas and level of designation and for information as it is released on assistance, visit here.

Oregon Emergency Management  - Includes:

  • New and alerts
  • current conditions
  • evacuation levels
  • what to pack
  • emergency lodging
  • property owner and homeowner information including insurance and claim information
  • and more

National Heritage Responders - Call 202-661-8068

  • Staff from Oregon Heritage and Oregon State Archives had a call with the National Heritage Responders on Sept. 15, 2020. They are ready and prepared to field calls from those who need some guidance on response and recovery of their lost or damaged collections and archives. This group of preservation trained volunteers usually can deploy to areas affected by natural disasters as they have done in the past with floods and hurricanes but, of course, COVID has made that difficult this year. They are however able to talk through guidance on the phone and possibly do virtual walk throughs with folks once they can safely access their building with clearance from local authorities. For more information about this group of volunteers visit here.

Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Service (WESTPAS) resource packet includes:

  • Field Guide Assessment Form
  • Facilities Emergency Systems
  • Disaster Response Team
  • Collection Salvage Priority excel sheet
  • Insurance Coverage worksheet
  • Disaster Response and Supplies
Oregon Wildfire Response Resources, Nonprofit Association of Oregon

National Archives Objects Recovery, Mitigation

First aid for fired damage of audiovisual materials, The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Conservation advice: Cleaning sootdamaged objects, Australian War Memorial

Fire damage, Chicora Foundation - includes response and treatment advice

Saving DamagedFamily Treasures after a Fire, Heritage Emergency National Task Force

Watch the Field Guide to Emergency Response “Dealing with Soot” video (Windows Media Player 5.9 MB or Flash 4 KB or on YouTube)

Smoke and Odor Removal, State Library of New South Wales

Recovering fire-damaged records, National Archives of Australia

How can you salvage your family's precious belongings? Australian Institute for the Conservtion of Cultural Materials

Collection Emergencies, Library of Congress - Includes gettinig rid of the smell of smoke, removing soot, and how to find a conservator

​Repeat after us: The heritage work you do is critical to the community! No matter if you sustained losses or damage.

Critical role historic places and collections play in recovery – Oregon Heritage Exchange

Community Trauma Toolkit, Australian Institute for Disaster Resillience

​We will update as things evolve.

At the request of the Governor, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, and the Oregon Community Foundation have jointly created the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund with a goal of gathering resources and to plan for what comes next after the extraordinary devastation brought by wildfires across a state already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and consequences of racial injustice.

The United Ways across the state have set up Wildfire Relief Funds and are working to coordinate with partner organizations in their regions.

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