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Italian Earthquake - A Disaster Preparedness Lesson 5 Tips To Help You
From:
Scott M. Haskins --  Art Damage Expert Witness Scott M. Haskins -- Art Damage Expert Witness
Santa Barbara , CA
Thursday, April 09, 2009


Only houses at epicenter look like this
 
For Immediate Release...

Contact Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

Fax (805) 568-1178

best_artdoc@yahoo.com

Italian Earthquake ? A Disaster Preparedness Lesson

5 tips to help you

Once more, we are reminded about the awful effect and cost of human life, livelihoods and resources that are a result of an earthquake. This time in central Italy, April 9.

Add to those tears the heartbreak of crumbling Medieval buildings full of memories, faith and art. What you don?t see is also the extreme damage to unseen treasures. The L?Aquila area is full of well preserved Roman ruins, both uncovered and still buried (but more broken up now). Even the Baths of Caracalla -- in Rome -- reportedly suffered damage.

I breathed a sign of relief a couple of years ago when visiting the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi that lost major parts of the vaulted ceiling in an earthquake. What a labor of love to put that mess back together!

Although Pope Benedict XVI plans to visit the town of L?Aquila next week, it will not likely get the same respect nor be on a fast track for repair. It?s too rural, not magnificent enough, not published in all the art books -- and there is a lot of damage to deal with during trying economic times.

Of course, the center of damage is now rubble. But, there are many, many homes in the area that were only badly rattled. That?s the case, also, in a hurricane, tornado or even a bad storm; a focused area gets the brunt of the impact and the vast outlying areas just get shook up. So, actually, there are huge numbers of people that were not physically at risk, but they may have lost and had damaged many cherished family treasures.

Disaster preparedness for your family history items includes knowing how to protect your genealogy, heirlooms, photographs, letters, old books, art work and important documents. What would you take if you had 5 minutes to grab and run (given all the family members and pets were accounted for)? Here are 7 tips to help you be better prepared:

1. Use an anchor wax to secure items that can fly off shelves and rattle around in display cases (go to www.preservationhelp.com ). This is a VERY good tip!

2. Keep photos in archival photo albums that are easy to grab and go. Keep them in a book case or storage box that is easy to get to.

3. Keep storage boxes away from water pipes (water heaters too) that could break and flood on your treasured items (causing water and mold damage).

4. Make sure hanging hooks AND wires are strong, oversized and well anchored into the wood. I can?t tell you how many paintings and frames I?ve repaired that fall off the wall onto a corner of a table or through a vase.

5. Photograph treasured keepsakes and copy docs; keep a copy in another location (another city or state!)

6. You may need supplemental insurance for earthquakes. Make sure your homeowner?s policy covers your contents. Heirlooms should not require a Fine Arts rider but should fall under your regular home owner?s policy. You will still need photos and values for a claim (go to www.faclappraisals.com).

7. Get a copy of ?How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster? (www.preservationhelp.com or http://www.amazon.com/How-Save-Your-Stuff-Disaster/dp/0964964708/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t ). There is additional free downloadable how-to information at www.preservationhelp.com with no purchase necessary.

The author, Scott M. Haskins, has worked in both Italy and the U.S. as a professional conservator for the last 30 years. While in Italy, he was the personal conservator for the Montini Family Collection, Pope Paul IV. He routinely treats and saves items damaged in earthquakes. He has been personally involved in seven ?major? California disasters: three earthquakes (Silomar ?71, Whittier ?89 and Northridge ?94), three fires (Santa Barbara ?90, 2008 and Oakland ?93) and one flood (Santa Barbara ?95) and has consulted with people throughout the US and Italy on numerous other ?events?. He works with the general public, historical societies, museums, corporations, private collectors, art galleries, state governments and the federal government. He also wrote a booklet on earthquake response of which 500,000 were distributed in LA after the Northridge Earthquake by the Bank of America Corp. human resource department.

Scott M. Haskins

Conservator

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories

Santa Barbara, CA

Phone : 805-564-3438

Fax : 805-568-1178

best_artdoc@yahoo.com
 
Scott M. Haskins
Conservator
Fine Art Conservation Laboratories
Santa Barbara, CA
805-564-3438
805-568-1178