Studio Protector Tip of the Month

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Preparedness tips for artists from the Studio Protector: The Artist's Guide to Emergencies
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

By Tip of the Month on Monday, March 26, 2012

The early spring has brought with it the most severe early outbreaks of tornadoes on record. You may be wondering, “what is the smart artist wearing this tornado season?”

The University of Alabama in Birmingham is now recommending that helmets (motorcycle, bicycle, football helmet, or hard hat should be added to the tornado protection equipment in your safe room.

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In 2006, with images from Hurricane Katrina fresh on the mind, the New England Youth Theatre took measures to protect new construction and the building they were renovating against flood damage. Those measures paid off in August 2011 when Tropical Storm Irene caused massive flooding across Vermont including NEYT’s home, Brattleboro.

Low-tech measures such as thickening the building’s concrete slab to resist hydraulic pressure, a concrete barrier to protect against flood-borne debris, and inexpensive drop-in floodgates to span doorways were employed to protect the building

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tornado season in the South started early this year. The warning from a NOAA weather radio in the early hours of the morning was a reminder of how important it is for every home and workplace to have a functioning weather radio. A NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio broadcasts National Weather Service (NWS) watches, warnings, forecasts and other hazards 24 hours a day, seven days a week over all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and U.S. Pacific Territories.While 85-95 percent of the nation is covered by weather broadcasts, it is estimated that only 5-10% of Americans actually own a weather radio. It is especially important to have one when a storm strikes in the middle of the night, or when you are working in the studio and may not be listening to a radio or television.

Here are some facts and tips about weather radios:

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The widespread flooding that followed Tropical Storm Irene up the coast from North Carolina to Vermont where the CERF+ office is located, has been a painful reminder of something we hear after every flood. That is, that many artists, business owners, and homeowners mistakenly assume that their insurance covers them for flood damage. Homeowner's and business insurance does not cover any damage from floods, or "rising water."

By Tip of the Month on Friday, October 28, 2011

The scenario: In this frank, amusing, and informative two-part animation, Nora, a soon-to-be art school graduate asks Tim, an established artist whose work she respects, questions about business insurance. Note: The source of many of Tim’s comments come from comments CERF+’s director of programs, Craig Nutt, has heard during his six years advocating for and educating artists about business insurance.
The Studio Protector Online Guide has more information on a variety of insurance topics, including business insurance and a listing of sources for business insurance for artists.

By Tip of the Month on Monday, September 26, 2011
Photo: FEMA

September is National Preparedness Month, and the past month has underscored the importance of rain, and the destruction caused by too little or too much of it. In Vermont, where the CERF+ office is located, we are dealing with the aftermath of unprecedented flooding that came with Hurricane Irene. Just like the many other floods we see, most people did not have flood insurance on their homes and businesses. Many people are learning the painful fact that homeowners and business insurance does not cover "rising water."

While the East Coast was being washed away, the wildfires in bone-dry Central Texas intensified.

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The news has been full of reports of cyber-espionage and cyber-warfare. However, you do not need to be a world power to be targeted by cyber criminals. The Studio Protector: The Artists Guide to Emergencies has just added a page on Cyber-Security: Computer and Online Safety Tips.  Here is a sampling of tips:

  1. Have good antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-malware and firewall software installed on your computer and update daily. 

  2. Keep your computer backed up and copies in a Safe Offsite Location (SOL).

  3. Do not open suspicious emails and attachments, even if they come from a reliable source.

  4. Use long and strong passwords with a combination of random characters, and use different usernames and passwords for each account.

By Tip of the Month on Friday, July 29, 2011

NASA has been in the news this month with the retirement of the last Space Shuttle, Atlantis, and the end of the current manned space flight program. Long known for preparing astronauts for any emergency that may arise, NASA is now encouraging its families to become better prepared for disasters.

By Tip of the Month on Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Given the flooding this spring and early summer affecting large areas in our nation, many artists are faced with the challenges of cleaning up and salvaging artworks, tools, and other items for themselves or for others affected by the floods. It doesn't take a breached levee to create some of these problems - an overflowing toilet or burst pipe can cause some of the same damage albeit on a smaller scale.

By Tip of the Month on Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Last month the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta issued an emergency preparedness blog that went viral within the preparedness community. Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse provides answers to a question that is on the minds of many people, "How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?" To be prepared the CDC recommends

By Tip of the Month on Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The April tornadoes that caused hundreds of deaths in the Southeast, are a grim reminder of the need to know what to do to improve your chances of surviving. Despite the huge death toll, countless lives were spared because people got to a safe place before the tornado struck. Even if you do not live in a tornado-prone area, you may be visiting an area where tornadoes happen, or may experience a freak weather event.  Here are some tips to help you survive a tornado:

By Tip of the Month on Monday, May 16, 2011

 

May 1st is the national day of preparedness in the cultural community and, not coincidentally the beginning of hurricane season. To mark MayDay, we suggest that each artist and arts organization do one thing that will help them get more prepared for emergencies. Here are 5 suggestions.

1. Make a list of risks to your business (you may have done this last month). Pick one and do something to lessen the risk. Create a plan for lessening the others.

2. If you don't have business insurance, get a quote. It may cost less than you think. We find that many artists could cover their businesses for about the cost of a latte per day. Remember-your homeowner's or renter's insurance probably does not cover your business building, property, or liability. Here is a listing of companies that insure artists.

By Tip of the Month on Friday, February 04, 2011

Punxsutawney Phil and all the major groundhogs agree that spring will come early this year. While even the thought of an early spring is welcome after this particularly brutal winter, sudden freezes, snow thaws, and spring rains bring increased risk of flooding no matter where you live. Even if your studio is covered by insurance, business insurance (like homeowner's insurance and renter's insurance) does not cover "rising water." Watch this interview with New Hampshire furniture maker Gary Spykman as he talks about his experiences with a flood in his studio

By Tip of the Month on Saturday, January 01, 2011

January 17th was the seventh anniversary of the Northridge, California earthquake, and devastating earthquakes last year in Haiti and Chile remind us that an earthquake can happen any time. Even if you do not live in a seismic zone, there is still a possibility that you could be visiting one when an earthquake strikes. If you are remember to:

  • Drop- don't run, you are likely to injure yourself trying to run while the earth is shaking. If you are inside, do not run outside where you may be hit by falling debris. Stay where you are. 

  • Cover - get under a a table or other sturdy piece of furniture or a structure that will protect you from falling objects.

  • Hold On - to a table leg and ride out the shaking.

By Tip of the Month on Friday, October 01, 2010

Fire Prevention Week was October 3-9 so this is a good time to focus on some basic fire safety tips for the studio. Here are 8 fire safety tips from the Studio Protector: The Artists' Guide to Emergencies:

1. Install dual-sensor fire alarms in studio if you do not already have them

2. Test alarms frequently, the most common cause of failure is dead batteries. Replace batteries in spring and fall

3. Be sure you have adequate fire extinguishers located near each exit.

By Tip of the Month on Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The recent wildfires near Boulder, Colorado underscore the importance of making preparations to help protect our studios and homes from the threat of fires, and to have a plan in place in case of fire. 

We hope that everyone already has an evacuation plan and disaster supply kit prepared for their home. CERF+ has found that, even in disaster-prone areas, artists often fail to make preparations to protect their careers. 
 
Here are 9 tips for wildfire preparation from the Studio Protector: The Artist's Guide to Emergencies:
 
1.       Create safety zone of at least 30 feet around your studio and home, by removing and reducing highly flammable vegetation. Attempt last-minute measures only if they do not endanger you or others.

2.       Remove debris from locations close to structures.

3.       Enclose all eaves. Use fire-resistant siding and safety-glass windows and doors.

By Tip of the Month on Sunday, August 01, 2010

It is the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and this month's tip focuses on protecting valuables such as artwork from moisture.

  • Avoid basement storage of art and valuables

  •  Protect artwork from moisture from above and below. Raise valuables above floor level, and if a storm or flood is imminent , consider moving them to a higher floor if possible. Protect from above and below with heavy plastic or tarps Keep gutters and drains unclogged

  • Check plumbing fixtures and sprinkler systems periodically and fix leaks

  • Neither business insurance nor homeowners' insurance covers damage from "rising water." You do not have to live in a flood zone to purchase flood insurance. More information

By Tip of the Month on Thursday, July 01, 2010

This month's "Tip of the Month" comes from the Studio Protector MayDay 2010 Contest. One of the best entries came from Hilda Melchior of Fairbanks, Alaska who wrote: "I made an "end of day" check list.  Check: gas off, power tools and pickle pots unplugged (we have lots of power outages here), pickle pots covered,  fan off,  air make up window closed (not good to leave open when it's below 0); make sure all tools and other items are firmly placed and not near an edge (in case of earthquake) and one last scan to see if anything does not look right."

By Tip of the Month on Saturday, May 01, 2010

As the flood waters in Rhode Island and Tennessee subside and hurricane season begins we are reminded that many disasters involve water. A broken pipe, damaged roof, or the water from putting out even a small fire can have the same devastating consequences to your art work as if the water came from a flood or hurricane. The Studio Protector recommends protecting your work from moisture from above and below by elevating it off the floor on shelves, bins, or pallets and cover it with plastic or tarps if there is danger of water coming from above.

By Tip of the Month on Thursday, April 01, 2010

New Hampshire furniture maker Gary Spykman avoided flooding when he lived in hurricane-prone areas, only to have his studio flooded three times in succession, in an area he believed to be outside of a flood zone.

It is important to be aware that serious flooding sometimes occurs in areas that are not designated as flood zones. With hurricane season a month away and spring rains and thaws happening right now, serious flooding can result not just in coastal areas but far in-land in low-lying areas and near rivers and streams.

By Tip of the Month on Saturday, January 02, 2010

Find a *Safe Offsite Location to store copies of your images and critical records such as business documents, sketches, and process notes. A SOL is a place 50-100 miles away from your studio that is unlikely to be affected by the same disaster.  A safe deposit box in your community, while useful, may not be the best place to put this material.  A Gulf Coast artist who went through Katrina showed us the slab where his bank used to be, the building is somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. More on studioprotector.org… 

By Tip of the Month on Sunday, November 01, 2009

(Note: We normally think of emergency preparedness as relating to forces such as fire, the weather, and other natural causes. However, falling victim to a scam is a very real emergency - one that can be career-threatening.)

We recently received a call from an artist who fell victim to a common trade show scam that now appears to be aimed at art fairs and craft shows.

The artist received an offer for a free listing in an online show directory. The name and address of a prominent national craft show in which he was participating were printed at the top of the page, and so he assumed (as the directory promoter hoped) that it was connected with the show in question.

Unfortunately, he signed up for the free listing without reading the fine print.

By Tip of the Month on Thursday, October 01, 2009

Now that hurricane season is clearly here, it's never too late to protect yourself and your art business from loss due to a hurricane. Do something this week that will get you closer to being adequately prepared. Here are some ideas to inspire you!

-Make a Disaster Supply Kit
There are plenty of resources on the web to help you put together a kit:
CERF+ Studio Protector
Red Cross
FEMA
-Information Backup
Your art career probably depends on a greater variety and quantity of information than you realize. Organize, duplicate and store it for reliable retrieval in case the primary source is destroyed.
By Tip of the Month on Friday, May 01, 2009

According to the recent CERF Business Insurance Survey a high percentage of craft artists mistakenly believe that the structure that they work in and/or their business property is covered by their homeowner’s insurance. Unless you have negotiated for a special endorsement (rider), homeowner’s insurance normally covers only about $2,500 for a home office--money intended for a desk, file cabinets and computers, but not buildings used for business purposes.

By Tip of the Month on Saturday, November 01, 2008

While weather radios have been strongly promoted in “tornado alley” and other areas that are prone to weather-related disasters, shifting weather patterns make this inexpensive warning system a good investment anywhere. An NOAA Public Alert™ certified radio activates automatically when a warning in your area is issued by the National Weather Service, even if the radio is turned off. This is especially important if you are asleep or working in the studio and not tuned to a local radio or television station that carries the alerts.

By Tip of the Month on Monday, September 01, 2008

Images are an artist's lifeblood. Without them there is nothing to submit with show applications, for exhibitions, or for press coverage.

Most artists store their slides and digital images in the studio, and they are usually lost if they have a fire or are struck by a natural disaster.

Store duplicates of your film images and backup media containing copies of digital images (CD, USB flash drive, or USB hard drive) at a secure offsite location.

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