By Eleanor Nelson, Guest Blogger
From the Editor: This preservation enthusiast from England, with ties in California, has asked to reach out to you and share 7 important tips for protecting cherished family possessions in case of a natural disaster. And there are some quick, fun videos links for you. This information is just as applicable for someone in Hurricane Country or who lives in areas of severe winter storms. If you know someone who lives in that type of climate or country, do them a favor and pass this great article along to them.
There is no “earthquake season,” as there are seasons for wildfires, tornadoes or blizzards. In California, we know the ground may start shaking under our feet at any time, so it pays to be prepared all the time.
That is why, on Thursday, October 18 we at the FACL will be participating in The Great ShakeOut earthquake drill, along with over 17 million people worldwide (12.9 million in America alone). Wherever they are, whatever they are doing, everyone will “drop, cover and hold on” for 60 seconds, as if a real earthquake were occurring.
Events like this are a useful reminder that while disasters are not preventable, much of the damage to our personal property is definitely preventable. With that in mind, here are 7 tips on ways to increase the chances that your collectibles, family history valuables and keepsakes will come through an earthquake unharmed.
1. Check the strength of the hanging hooks and wires on wall-mounted artwork. They should be well-anchored and over-sized. “Over-engineer” the hanging materials. Paintings can rip all too easily if they fall onto something; even the corners of furniture can cause serious damage.
2. Secure items on shelves or in cabinets with Museum Wax, available at http://tipsforfineartcollectors.org/museum-wax-package/. (watch the short video!) Even a quake of relatively low magnitude will shift and topple standing objects.
3. Keep your most important photographs together, in albums or containers that will allow for swift, easy removal in an emergency. Its called a “grab n’ go’ box.” Overwhelmed with so lots of stuff in boxes?! Here’s a quick video on how to get through it quickly… and in a fun way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j5RdOUkLv4 (leave a comment and THUMBS UP?)
4. Store items of significance away from water pipes and water heaters. Damage to your home’s plumbing system could turn an earthquake into a flood! Water not only causes serious immediate damage, it also leads to mold, resulting in further destruction. FEMA says all it takes in 2” of water to do massive damage.
5. Make copies of important documents, and take photographs of your precious possessions. Keep these in a safe location, offsite–preferably in a different state entirely! You will need these photos (and values) if you want to make an insurance claim. Questions about appraisals and claims, go to www.faclappraisals.com and call Richard Holgate, International Society of Appraisers 805 895 5121 for a free chat.
6. It is possible you will need supplemental earthquake insurance. Check that the contents of your house are covered by your homeowner’s policy. The policy should cover heirlooms under “Contents” and not require a further Fine Arts rider.
7. Finally, buy a copy of ‘How to Save Your Stuff From A Disaster’ at www.saveyourstuff.com.
Great suggestions, Eleanor. You can “take those tips to the bank.”
If you have art conservation/restoration questions call Scott Haskins at 805 564 3438.
Keywords: collectibles, family history, fine art insurance, art appraisal, art conservation, Museum Wax, ShakeOut, keepsakes, drop cover and hold, Scott Haskins, Eleanor Nelson