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Preparedness tips for artists from the Studio Protector: The Artist's Guide to Emergencies
By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mobile technology brings important emergency alerts to you any time and any place. Be ready to respond when a severe weather disaster or other emergency hits your area.

Severe Weather Alert more
By Tip of the Month on Friday, February 20, 2015

Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the United States. With snowmelt a big concern in the East this year, and spring storms always a concern in many parts of the country, now is the time to get prepared for floods.

Consider taking these flood preparedness steps:
  • Flood insurance. Homeowner's and business insurance does not cover any damage from floods, or "rising water." The official web site of the National Flood Insurance Program is

  • Assess your flood risk. The chances of your home or studio being flooded...more

By Tip of the Month on Friday, January 16, 2015
A fireman inspects the remains of Jode Hillman's woodshop.

It’s January. You have likely made great resolutions to advance your art career in 2015, but here’s one resolution every artist can quickly check off the to-do list in less than an hour!

Resolve to visually record your art business inventory. Let's get started!

“I would recommend to any artist to do a yearly inventory of tools and materials. The time you will save and peace of mind earned will be well worth it,” says New Jersey wood carver Jode Hillman regarding his insurance claim after a 2013 woodshop fire.

By Tip of the Month on Friday, November 21, 2014
FEMA News Photo

This month’s epic snow storms in the Northeast serve as a sudden and severe reminder that winter is here, and with it, winter storms that can be powerful and unexpected. Power outages are a primary result of winter storms. It's important to prepare now for an extended period without power at your home and studio.

To begin preparing, you should have: 

  • An emergency supplies kit. Some of the basic supplies include:

    • Water: At least three days’ supply at one gallon per person per day

    • Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

    • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio

    • Flashlight and extra batteries

    • First aid kit

    • Battery backup or an alternative (solar, etc.) charger for your cell phone


By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, October 22, 2014

As temperatures drop during the approaching months of winter, the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning from heating sources increases. That makes it a good time to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home and studio, and if you already have them, now is the time to make sure they are operating properly.

CERF+’s Development and Events Coordinator Carrie Cleveland can attest that an operational carbon monoxide (CO) detector is a vital safety device for one’s home and studio. A few years ago on New Year’s Eve (also, Carrie’s birthday), she and her husband, Xavier, had just arrived home with provisions for a festive dinner when they heard a loud buzz coming from the neighboring apartment below. Their neighbor was away for the holiday and Carrie was concerned that what they were hearing was a CO detector alerting them to the presence of carbon monoxide. She reached their neighbor by phone and got permission to climb through a window into the apartment. 

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This past June, Patricio and Neena Ferreira arrived at their hotel after a day exhibiting Patricio’s fine jewelry at the American Crafts Festival at Lincoln Center. They had just parked their van a few feet from the hotel's back entrance when they were mugged. As Neena exited the passenger side of the van, she heard thumps coming from the driver’s side. By the time she reached the other side of their van, four masked men were already running to a getaway car. Patricio was on the ground yelling, “They got the jewelry!” 

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We all like to think we're too smart to fall for an email scam. The truth is that scammers are increasingly sophisticated in their methods and their subterfuge is harder to detect. Artists are finding that they are now targeted professionally. A direct appeal to an artist's need to sell work, and the desire for a stranger to show appreciation for what artists create is very powerful. It can be so seductive as to blindside even the most savvy artist. 

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Good insurance, preparedness, and a rainy-day fund remain the most effective tools for emergency recovery. But many artists are finding online fundraising, or “crowdfunding,” can supplement other sources of recovery funds. Funds raised through crowdfunding of all kinds, including nonprofit causes and business startups, has more than tripled in the past three years, reaching $5.1 billion in 2013. It's not a sure thing but some tips from those who've been there may help increase your chances of success.

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The official Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and while most hurricanes in the U.S. only strike states on the Gulf and East Coasts, often they remain powerful as they track hundreds of miles inland. In fact, well over half of the U.S. population resides in states that can be impacted by a hurricane (use this online tool from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] to view the track and intensity of hurricanes that have passed through your area). While the 2013 hurricane season was less active than predicted and the 2014 season is expected to be less active than average, it only takes one hurricane to undo much of one’s art career.

Why not be prepared? Here are some resources to help you be ready:

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Recent wildfires in San Diego County have underscored what we already know: that increasing areas of the western and southern U.S. are sitting on a tinderbox. After numerous seasons of drought, the dry hazard zones have expanded well beyond what were previously seen as wildfire areas. But rather than hoping it rains soon, what measures can people take to better protect their homes, studios, tools, and artwork?

By Tip of the Month on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

May Day is the day of preparedness in the cultural community. To celebrate, CERF+ urges every artist and arts organization to pick at least one thing to do in May to make them better prepared for an emergency. And, to make it easy, let's pick some low-hanging fruit! Here are some suggestions:

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

We hope we’re all lucky enough to escape a flood or other emergency this year. But, we may have the opportunity to help another artist or “civilian” with clean-up and salvage after an emergency. In fact, most artists have special skills that, with a little planning, can be put to good use after a disaster. Here's how to get ready to help...

By Tip of the Month on Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A few weeks ago, our Twitter account was briefly compromised, resulting in an automatically-generated tweet and a message sent to our followers. Our alert staff immediately changed our password, took preventive measures, and there were no further incursions. But, it did provide a wake-up tweet that none of us is immune to cyber-threats. Here are seven things to do right now to enhance your cyber-security...

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Earlier this year, I lost something I never anticipated: my data. My computer crashed and I lost almost everything on my hard drive. Just like that. Losing 1.5 years' worth of data is heartbreaking. As the owner of a small business, it was devastating. It's so easy to go through life assuming that nothing bad is going to happen to you. I never anticipated that everything could be gone in a blink. Think of computer backups as a kind of business insurance. You make copies of everything – just in case.

This month’s tip is from book artist Elissa Campbell.

By Tip of the Month on Friday, October 25, 2013

This year NOAA predicted an above-normal hurricane season. Although it's been blissfully quiet to date, NOAA continues to call for an active hurricane season, which runs through November 30th. The media is beginning to call the forecast a bust. It's too soon to say, but if it is, that would be great news. It will give us all a little more time to get ready...

By Tip of the Month on Thursday, September 26, 2013

How much do any of us know about using a ladder safely? This month's tip will help you get all the way there. In recent years we’ve assisted at least nine artists who have sustained injuries from ladder accidents resulting in: three broken wrists, two broken arms, two broken feet, broken ribs, shoulder, back, concussion, serious brain damage, impalement, and one death. Learn how to use a ladder safely and prevent injuries.

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ten Minute ChallengeWildfires are in the news, Hurricanes Irene and Sandy are recent memories. Despite a slow start, NOAA still predicts a more active than normal hurricane season, which runs through the end of October. What if you get the word that you have ten minutes to evacuate your home and studio? This three-minute video by the Insurance Information Institute shows what happened when two families took the Ten Minute Challenge.

The video ends with the following tips:

By Tip of the Month on Thursday, July 18, 2013

In last month's Tip of the Month, Joplin, Missouri, potter Angel Brame gave us an incredible list of preparedness and survival tips. In fact, the list was so good that we're going to focus on some of the individual tips for the summer months. If you find yourself with a spare moment to focus on the business side of your art before the busy fall season sets in, then now's the time to take Angel's advice on this tip: 

"Videotape your belongings every time you change the clocks and smoke detector batteries. Put that videotape/DVD in a safe deposit box. While we didn’t have to itemize our losses, we know others who did. And I mean itemize EVERYTHING. Every sock and spoon, every spice and towel, every piece of furniture and picture frame. It will be a nightmare. Be prepared with visuals. It will help."

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Angel Brame’s family lost their home and her ceramics studio in the Joplin EF-5 tornado in May 2011. She offers her hard-learned tips here. Just take it one step at a time and you’ll be as prepared as Angel now is!

Angel says: I know my list won’t work for every tragedy. I had 20 minutes of warning. Fires aren’t that courteous and neither are many other tragedies. But, if I help one person avoid some stress by being prepared for something hellish, then it’s worth it. I can put all of my advice into two words: “Be prepared.” Wait until you see how many times I use it before I am done! - Angel Brame

By Tip of the Month on Thursday, May 23, 2013

While we are all focused on the tragic tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, it is a good time to remind ourselves that much of the U.S. outside of “tornado alley” is also vulnerable to tornadoes and high winds. Knowing what to do, and doing it quickly is the key to surviving a tornado. The Studio Protector offers some tips:

By Tip of the Month on Friday, April 26, 2013

May 1 is the day of preparedness in the arts and cultural communities and to celebrate CERF+ encourages each artist and arts organization to do at least one thing during the month of May to make them less vulnerable to emergencies. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

By Tip of the Month on Tuesday, March 26, 2013

After watching a gripping sci-fi thriller or leaving the studio on a starlit night who has not wondered, “Am I ready for an alien invasion?” CERF+ Director of Programs took on the topic at a recent conference presentation: Klaatu Barada Nikto: How to Save Your Studio from an Alien Invasion and Other Emergencies. Here are some preparedness tips from his talk:

By Tip of the Month on Thursday, February 21, 2013

As artists focused on creating, we all plan on living (and working) forever. However, IF we should ever die, it would be comforting to know that we had taken some measures to make things easier for those we leave behind. Here are some tips to get you started:

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

After a disaster it’s hard to know where to begin so it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Here are some pointers and resources that will help as you work on addressing the damage.

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Get a picture of 150 years of hurricane history in your area using the recently enhanced Historical Hurricane Tracks website from NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). For those in the eastern half of the continental US, the image can be quite dramatic.
By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

You have been thinking that you need to get your act together and go ahead and make a disaster plan, put together a disaster kit, and do some things to prepare your studio for emergencies but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. September is National Preparedness Month, so why put it off any longer. Here are 4 things to get you started:

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, July 25, 2012
You are at an outdoor art fair when a band of thunderstorms rolls in. What do you do?  The National Weather Service says that there is little you can do to substantially reduce your risk of being struck by lightning if you are outside. The only safe action is to get to a safe building or vehicle as quickly as possible after you first hear thunder, and stay
By Tip of the Month on Monday, July 02, 2012

Wildfires are in the news and very much on our minds after visiting two Texas artists who are recovering from the loss of their home and studio to a wildfire last September. They have just finished rebuilding their home and will soon start on the studio. Here are a few tips gleaned from their experience to keep in mind if a wildfire – or any fire – is near you:

  • Do not hesitate to evacuate. This fire reached them in minutes and they barely

By Tip of the Month on Monday, May 21, 2012
Weather experts are predicting a comparatively tame 2012 hurricane season, but from where we sit in our Vermont office, we know that it does not take a direct strike from a category 5 hurricane to cause a tremendous amount of damage. Hurricane Irene, was downgraded to a tropical storm well before it dumped record amounts of rain across the region, and our state is still a long way from a full recovery. Here are some things we learned from our run-in with Irene:
By Tip of the Month on Friday, April 20, 2012
May Day, the day of emergency preparedness for the cultural community is coming up. Here are four things you can do in May without spending much, if any money that will have a major impact on your emergency preparedness.
  1. Back up your computer and get a copy to a Safe Off-site Location (SOL*). A backup lying on your desk will protect you if your drive crashes, but will be of no use in a fire, flood, or other emergency. Take the next step and store a copy in an SOL. *An SOL is a location 50-100 miles away from your studio that is not likely to be affected by the same emergency. This could be in a friend or relative’s house or an online backup. The Studio Protector Online Guide has more information on backing up your computer