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Assess and record immediate risks

If there is doubt about the risk of collapse of a structural or overhanging element, create a circular buffer zone around the element, ensuring the radius of the zone is equal to the height of the element concerned. 2 Check utilities. Where applicable, check whether the gas, electricity and water outlets can be safely used on site. 3 Post signage. Install appropriate signage around cordonedoff areas. Signage should be large, clearly visible, and easily recognisable by all personnel. 4 Secure pathways. Identify pathways and access routes and mark them clearly on a site map and floor plan (if available). If safe to do so, remove debris from the path to improve access. This may include the removal of unstable overhanging, nonstructural elements, such as roof tiles, chimneys and wooden panels, or securing the floor if there are large holes present. Before you remove overhanging elements or fragments from a historic structure, make sure you document their position and type, as well as severity of the damage incurred. Take photographs (one close-up and one long shot) and record the location of the elements or fragments on a site/floor map. If in any doubt about the removal of structural elements, ask a structural engineer how to do so safely. 5 Provide temporary cover. In the event of a structural collapse, both the exposed structures and trapped cultural heritage objects should be provided with a temporary cover until further action can be taken. See how to provide temporary cover in the Toolkit, page 73. 6 If left exposed, mortars and organic cultural materials can deteriorate rapidly. Covering an exposed pile of cultural heritage objects is a strictly temporary measure that should not last beyond a few days. 7 Remove hazardous waste. Following a natural disaster or conflict-induced event, heritage sites may contain hazardous materials and waste: for example, explosives, chemicals, petroleum, PVC pipes, insulation, or fireproofing materials. In such cases, identify and consult the expert agency responsible for the safe disposal of the material found before taking any other on-site action.