26 May 2022

Emergency guidance for caring for cultural property

Guidance to support heritage professionals in Ukraine: fire fighting, smoke damage, protecting an iconostasis

A group of conservators, supported by Icon, has come together under the leadership of Dr Donatella Banti to respond to the crisis in Ukraine and, where possible, offer help from the UK. The volunteers have been working together since the beginning of March through a shared online platform. There are currently three working groups focussed on the following themes:

  • Guidance
  • Material aid
  • Sponsoring refugees

Please contact us if you would like to join this collaborative project.



The group of volunteers working on guidance has now published a set of Emergency Guidance Notes on fire protection and response, including a practical guide on how to use fire extinguishers (available in English and Ukrainian).

The work has been coordinated and authored by Karen Dundas ACR, Fiona Macalister ACR, and Katrina Thomson, with significant contributions from conservation and fire specialist colleagues in the UK, Norway and US. Grateful thanks are extended to Myron Stachiw for support with translations. Feedback on the guidance is welcomed (please contact Karen Dundas and Katrina Thomson, through Icon).

This fire guidance is complementary to the newly published ‘Guide on Historic Buildings and Fire in War-affected Countries’ by René Teijgeler and Nina Kjølsen Jernæs (May 2022), available at Emergency Management Resources for Cultural Heritage in Conflict, Disaster and Crisis - Blue Shield International (theblueshield.org)


Guidance Note No.1: Protecting Iconostasis during times of Armed Conflict


Інструкція № 1


Guidance Note No.2: Putting out small fires and the use of extinguishers in historic buildings, museums and religious sites during times of Armed Conflict


Інструкція № 2.pdf


Guidance Note No.3: Handling soot and smoke affected historic surfaces after fire


Інструкція № 3 _кіптява і дим.pdf



How to Use Fire Extinguishers (English)


How to Use Fire Extinguishers (Ukrainian)