Overview of Winter Storm Risks
Winter storms pose a variety of major risks to collections. Power and communications systems may be out. High winds may break repository windows, cause kinetic damage to fragile collections items such as glass plates, or may blow some items out of your repository. Snow, sleet, rain, ice, and high winds may pose a combination of perils to your building and your collections. Help may be unable to arrive due to road conditions.
High winds and snow, sleet, or rain may lead to an accumulation within air intake valves or may leak into roofing gaps, punctures from tree limbs, or through broken windows, feeding water into the building. This chilled water may follow previously unknown routes to new locations. Water in the building will raise the humidity, leading to mold in affected areas in a few days, placing collections at risk of total loss. Collections may also cockle, buckle, deteriorate, or suffer impact damage when water under pressure collapses ceilings or furniture. Some water may be from sewers or may pass through ceiling tiles or insulation leading to collection contamination when water leaks into storage and exhibit areas.
Gutters, roofs, or nearby trees may collapse under the weight of ice or snow, burying collections under ice, snow, tree limbs, dirt, and building debris, or may cause cascading ceiling and wall collapses that lead ultimately to total structural collapse. Structural collapse may cause fire damage to collections due to broken gas and power lines, as well as water damage from roof leaks, broken windows, fire hoses, damaged sprinklers, or broken water or sewer pipes.
Due to snow, sleet, or ice on the nearby roadways, roads may be closed, limiting staff and visitor evacuation and the arrival of assistance. Nearby transportation accidents may pose risks to your structure and collections. Staff or visitors may be stranded in your building, in cars on the road, or at their home, unable to provide assistance.
Collections Recovery: Collections may be recovered from damage if appropriate measures are taken. Dry collections may be salvaged and cleaned of soil, wet collections may be frozen to prevent mold growth, and broken book bindings, photographs and papers can be boxed or treated by professional conservators.
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