Immediate Assistance

Courtesy the Campbell Center


If you are in need of immediate assistance following a collections emergency, contact:

Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)
Disaster assistance hotline: (855) 245-8303

NEDCC staff members are available 24 hours a day to provide telephone advice when an emergency occurs. This service is provided at no charge thanks to a grant to NEDCC from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This service does not normally include on-site assistance.

Information provided includes advice on drying wet collections and dealing with damage from fire, pests, or mold.  Referrals to commercial disaster recovery service providers experienced with library and archives collections can also be provided.

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC)
Evan Knight, Preservation Specialist

(617) 725-1860 x236 or (800) 952-7403 x236 (in-state)

The MBLC provides both telephone and on-site assistance, when appropriate, following a disaster.  The MBLC’s Emergency Assistance Program provides specific assistance to public libraries, but all archives, historical societies, and other repositories are more than welcome to avail themselves of the service.  If MBLC staff assistance is unavailable, call the NEDCC disaster assistance hotline above.

AIC-CERT (American Institute for Conservation Collections Emergency Response Team)
24-hour disaster assistance: (202) 661-8068

AIC-CERT responds to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors, and the public. Volunteers provide emergency advice and referrals by phone at the number above. Requests for on-site assistance will be forwarded by the volunteer to the AIC-CERT Coordinator and Project Director for response. This initiative is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Members of COSTEP MA are part of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Team, which is composed of liaisons from Federal, state, local, non-profit, and private-sector agencies and organizations that support MEMA during activations of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at MEMA HQ. At the request of the Director of MEMA, COSTEP MA liaisons may report to the SEOC, where they will coordinate state-level assistance by COSTEP MA partners and support agencies to supplement local response efforts, as well as provide subject matter expertise relating to cultural resources.

Recovery Assistance

To salvage large quantities of damaged materials, it may be necessary to contact a disaster recovery company. There are relatively few reputable companies experienced in salvaging buildings and collections (e.g., drying and cleaning buildings, wet books, documents, computer data, microfilm, and audio/video) for cultural institutions. A list of vendors that can provide drying, freezing, storage, supplies, and more can be found here.

State and Federal Assistance

It is important to remember that during the first 72 hours of an emergency, the focus of local, state, and federal emergency responders will be on saving lives and stabilizing infrastructure. We must be prepared to be “on our own” for at least the first three days following a disaster. Each institution needs to have a plan for response and recovery and the necessary supplies at hand. This practical reality makes collaboration between cultural institutions and emergency managers at the local level that much more essential. Cultural organizations can respond more rapidly and comprehensively to prevent damage to collections by fostering regional networks and establishing relationships with emergency managers at the state and local levels. To learn more about this process and how COSTEP MA can help, refer to the Emergency Preparedness section of our website.

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)

MEMA is the state agency with primary responsibility for ensuring the state’s resilience to disasters. MEMA’s staff of professional planners, communications specialists, operations managers, and support personnel is committed to an all-hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state, and local government agencies and with the private sector—individuals, families, non-profits, and businesses—MEMA ensures the Commonwealth’s ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and building the capacity to recover.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. The range of FEMA’s activities is broad and spans the life cycle of disasters. FEMA’s capabilities include:

  • Advising on building codes and flood plain management
  • Teaching people how to get through a disaster
  • Helping equip local and state emergency preparedness
  • Coordinating the federal response to a disaster
  • Making disaster assistance available to states, communities, businesses, and individuals
  • Training emergency managers
  • Supporting the nation’s fire service
  • Administering the national flood and crime insurance programs