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First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis Handbook and Toolkit

“Securing cultural heritage during large-scale and multilayered humanitarian crises is challenging for many reasons. One major reason is the lack of consideration for cultural heritage within national and international emergency management systems. Other reasons are encompassed in such questions as: if multiple cultural sites are affected, where does one start? Who can provide access? Who can assist? When is the right time to intervene? How should one intervene?


This Handbook and its Toolkit explain ‘cultural heritage first aid’: the immediate and interdependent actions taken to stabilise and reduce risks to endangered tangible and intangible cultural heritage, with the aim of promoting its recovery. Through a field-tested, three-step framework, it establishes when and how to protect endangered cultural heritage, and indicates all those who could assist in such operations. The steps and workflows provided can be adapted to different types of emergencies and their specific contexts.


This handbook aims to serve as a:

• Reference to train cultural first aiders, emergency responders and volunteers.

• Tool to improve the emergency preparedness and response plans of cultural heritage institutions.

• Guide to assist in implementing first aid operations in conjunction with humanitarian relief and recovery.


It identifies aspects of cultural heritage first aid, the coordinated implementation of which could help reduce the affected population’s vulnerability. By doing so, we hope to advocate for the inclusion of cultural heritage first aid in international, national and local emergency response and humanitarian relief systems” (Handbook, p.7)