Piano Disaster Mitigation Protocol
Amy Marshall Registered Piano Technician, Piano Technicians Guild
101 Harmony Road, Wexford, PA 15090
The key to reducing loss to a piano after any disaster is quick action. In almost every instance when there has been a fire or flood, or an H/VAC related incident, humidity levels rise or drop out of the safe range for pianos.
Relative humidity readings above 65% or below 35% pose a real threat to the integrity of the glue joints, as well as many other unique features of the piano.
PROTOCOL FOR A DISASTER INVOLVING A PIANO:
Step 1. Call Amy Marshall R.P.T., P.T.G. at 724 935 9420 to assess the conditions. Every effort will be made to
evaluate the piano and surroundings immediately. You may choose to immediately move the piano to Amy’s facility if the environment is in crisis.
Step 2. Amy Marshall will determine if the piano must be moved to safe surroundings. While the owner or
disaster professional may contract with piano movers, Amy will do everything possible to facilitate finding and scheduling someone qualified to move the piano. Amy’s facility, Safe Piano Storage, is available to receive pianos seven days per week, with few exceptions.
Step 3. If there is standing water, immediately get the piano out of the room or at least on blocks.
Step 4. If possible, obtain a fire-chief’s report. It is useful to know the highest temperature the room reached, the
height from the floor of the heat/smoke ring, and what materials burned, when restoring or cleaning a piano.
Step 5. If you cover the piano, permeable coverings are the best, and these not reaching the floor. This permits
natural ventilation and does not trap as much moisture in the instrument as plastic. Do not permit coverings to “wick” water from a wet floor. Never cover any piano with plastic unless there is active water.
Step 6. Pianos should not be left on trucks, outdoors, in direct sunlight, covered with damp blankets, or in
unheated environments. These can destroy the piano in a very short amount of time.
Step 7. Do not stack anything on, or stand on, the piano even if it is covered. The hardware and other external
features of pianos are delicate and costly. Do not forget to protect, and/or remove the bench with the piano. Treat it the same as the piano, for it is part of the instrument. It is difficult to replace and almost impossible to match.
When there is standing or active water, wet surroundings,
or no H/VAC, it is always best to remove the piano.