Reminder of NARA Resources for Damaged Records

Many agency staff are returning to offices again as government buildings open without limits on days and hours of operation. As staff return, they may discover records damaged by water, mold, insects, vermin, or other problems. We would like to remind the federal records management community of the resources we have available to help you manage these types of issues.

When you find damaged records, you may need to implement a records recovery operation. Our “Records Emergency” pages in the preservation section of the NARA website includes information on records emergency planning, response, and recovery. Contracting information on records recovery services is also provided, including descriptions of typical task orders. 

Sometimes the damage can be so severe, such as mold growth or rodent infestation, that the records pose a continuing menace to human health, life, or property. Instead of a recovery operation, you may need to request permission for emergency destruction, as described under 36 CFR 1229.10. To make a request for emergency destruction, the Senior Agency Official for Records Management (SAORM) or Agency Records Officer (ARO) or other designee should notify NARA by email at
For advice and assistance on other records management issues you may encounter, please contact the appraisal archivist assigned to your agency. Please see this list of agency staff assignments with NARA points of contact.