Cal State Guard’s mission saves historical artifacts following floods, fires, earthquakes and civil unrest
Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Colonel Kirk Sturm with the California State Guard’s Heritage Emergence Response Team (HERT) at Camp San Luis, California.
There are more than 5,000 archives, museums, libraries and cultural institutions in California, all with precious historical artifacts at risk from fire, flood, earthquakes, civil unrest and acts of terrorism.
The California State Guard’s Military Museum Command has created a Heritage Emergency Response Team trained to respond within four hours to all hazards with personnel, supplies and equipment to salvage and evacuate precious heritage resources.
The HERT teams follow Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Rescue Initiative guidelines in addition to FEMA’s National Preparedness incident guidelines, California’s Office of Emergency Management Incident response protocol as well as U.S. Army regulations pertaining to cultural and artifact protection and security.
The HERT concept isn’t new: the 2014 Hollywood movie Monuments Men chronicled the U.S. Army’s WWII mission to protect cultural artifacts.