This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Salvage and Disaster Recovery

Historic England runs a practical 3-day course that shows delegates how an effective response during an emergency incident can mitigate loss and damage to heritage assets. This course provides hands-on experience of removing objects from an incident location, assessing of the condition of those objects, and following appropriate first-aid treatment and documentation procedures. Participants also learn about how to use essential salvage equipment safely.

With contributions from English Heritage, Historic England, The National Trust, West Midlands Fire Service and an independent conservator, the course is suitable for anybody that might be involved in dealing with an emergency incident affecting a heritage asset. The course is run four times a year (usually in February, May, July and October) and equates to 18.5 hours of CPD from the Institute of Fire Engineers.

Who should attend?

This course is intended for anyone working with heritage assets, whether buildings, structures or collections. You may be working as a property manager, curator, volunteer manager or within the fire service, or maybe you are considering a career in one of these areas. We welcome people from different backgrounds as one of the key points of the course is to learn about the need for different parties to communicate effectively and work together in such situations.

Why should you join this course?

Emergency situations pose a high risk to heritage assets.  However, reacting quickly and effectively can mitigate this. The course can help you to recognise the importance of effective communication and leadership, in emergency situations. You will gain hands on experience working with historic artefacts. This will include understanding how to handle objects and remove them from an incident location.  You’ll also learn some initial object first aid techniques and understand the importance of accurate documentation.  You’ll see what equipment might be needed in an incident situation and learn how to use it safely.


At the end of the course participants will:

  • Understand how to organise resources and the response to incident situations
  • Understand the emergency services’ command and control system, by working directly with the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Gain practical experience leading or working in salvage teams
  • Know how to work safely in emergency situations
  • Understand how to handle damaged artefacts and undertake triage techniques
  • Understand how to train others to react to incident situations

Course activities

The timetable covers practical work as well as classroom-style learning which broadly covers:

  • Emergency plan overview
  • Health and safety in incident situations
  • Incident management/team work
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Safe use of ladders
  • Water management exercise
  • Breathing apparatus exercise
  • Working with Emergency Services
  • The importance of documentation
  • Handling and Packing Objects
  • First-Aid Treatment of collections
  • Desktop exercises and a practical salvage exercise
  • Lowering Books and using ropes and lines
  • Case studies - learning from the misfortune of others

Meet the course tutors


Find out more about our tutors

Course venue

Handsworth Community Fire Station,
41 Rookery Road,
B21 9QU

Course fee

The cost is £505 per delegate, and includes 3 days of expert teaching, buffet lunches, 1 evening meal and 2 nights B&B accommodation at a local hotel.

How to book

For any questions or booking, please email:


Was this page helpful?