Due to global warming and the drastic climate changes the world is experiencing, flooding has become a common occurrence and has affected hospitals, libraries, homes and businesses. Not only does it wreak havoc on infrastructures but it also destroys various important documents that amount to millions of dollars. These documents can range from contracts, certificates, bonds, confidential agreements to high priority blue prints. Nevertheless, all these documents need to be recovered immediately and effectively since they are significant to the careers and lives of a lot of people.
How to Effectively Save Your Water Damaged Documents
If you want to effectively save your water damaged documents, the first thing you should do is obtain a permission letter from a city authority that will grant you access to reenter your office building. Ensure that all gas lines and electricity are switched off if water is still in the building as well. Before entering the building, make it a point to wear the appropriate safety gear, namely: gloves, rubber boots, a protective suit, a face mask and goggles. It would be highly advisable to create a disaster plan so that the procedure in saving your important documents will run smoothly and orderly.
Furthermore, you should make it a point to call your insurance company and report the damage done on your office. You will need to get a hold of the video tapes or records that will serve as the necessary evidence for the insurance company to process and evaluate. After you have dealt with your insurance company, you should immediately contact a paper restoration company to handle all your water damaged documents. Remember that you need to immediately take all your documents and freeze them so they can be preserved and restored. The freezing process has to be done to prevent mildew and mold from developing in your documents.
Delegating certain tasks among the employees of the company is imperative to be able to successfully put things back into order. One group should set aside the files that aren’t damaged and put them in a place that is far from the affected area. On the other hand, another group should be in charge of throwing away documents that cannot be recovered or restored anymore. There should also be a group that will handle all the important files that need to be packed for labeling, color coding and restoration so that everything is organized in a systematic way. And finally, there should be a group that will spearhead packing, taping and labeling of boxes so that they can be transferred to freezers and prevent further damage.
Different Types of Document Drying
The process of document drying is a significant process since it basically salvages classified and personal written materials. The primary cause for documents to become wet is water damage. Documents can range from photographic media, microfiche, and paper records to microfilm. To fully recover water damaged documents, there are several types of document drying that can be used.
Sealing the film is one type of document drying. Since photographic media aren’t immune to water damage, these need to be saved immediately. Basically, microfilms, x-ray films and microfiches have to be placed in a box and sealed. Afterwards, they need to be refrigerated at a temperature of 35 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to organize and figure out what has been recovered, an inventory of the documents should be made.
Freezing paper is another type of document drying that can be used. To avoid completely damaging the contents of the documents, this type of document drying can prevent blocking and ink smears. Accounting for all the documents that need to be dried is the first thing you need to do. The second thing that needs to be done is to use plastic liners to cover all the documents. Afterwards, you need to prepare the documents to be palletized by placing them inside a box. From there, all you need to do is transfer the box into a freezer. The damage incurred by the documents will temporarily be stopped until full restoration begins.
The third type of document drying entails separating vellum and leather bound documents. The drying process should be minimized to a slow pace since the documents are made out of animal skin. Since these documents are highly flammable, it is crucial that none of these materials be exposed to heat. Keep in mind that vellum and leather bound documents can only go through freezing and drying processes.
Reprocessing of microforms is the fourth type of document drying that can be used. Through a state-of-the art piece of machinery, microfilm that has incurred water damage is reprocessed to its original form. Furthermore, this can also be done manually on fiche and photographic film so that it doesn’t get more exposed to water. After it is wet processed and thawed, the microforms and microfilm are restored.
Freeze drying frozen paper documents is the last type of document drying. Through sublimation, which is simply a process wherein its solid state is turned into a vapor state, the documents are salvaged. When this is done, a vacuum needs to be placed inside a freeze dry chamber along with the documents.
Various Tips to Help Save Your Water Damaged Documents
Aside from the mentioned types of document drying, there are various tips that you can use to help save your documents from further water damage. One tip you can use is to insert wax paper between documents that have incurred water damage. Once you have done this, it is highly advisable to wrap them inside individual plastic bags. Do not forget to immediately transfer them into a freezer so they can still be salvaged.
Another handy tip that you can use is to allow your documents to dry by airing them out in an open space. Keep in mind that the documents are prone to being blown away by the fans so make sure that the room is large enough to keep them set down on the floor. This may take a lot of time compared to the different types of document drying. However, if you are on a budget, this will save you a lot of money.
Furthermore, dehumidification is another tip you can use. This entails using large dehumidifiers in keeping temperatures and moisture at a balanced and consistent level. The dehumidifiers essentially seep the water from the room and the damaged documents as well. Unlike airing out documents naturally, this tip may cost you a lot more money. The benefit of this tip however, is that it will speed up the drying process.
Vacuum thermal drying is another helpful tip that can save you the stress of spending a lot of money or having to wait a long time for the documents to dry. You must remember though that thermal drying has certain steps that need to be followed. Storing the documents into the vacuum device is the first step that needs to be done. From here, a secondary vacuum seeps the moisture from the damaged documents while hot air is being blown out within the mechanism. You can be assured that your documents will be saved by using this advanced form of technology.
Vacuum-freezing is the last tip you can use and all you need is a vacuum mechanism. Always remember to place the documents in a container of ice until you start transferring them into the mechanism. What basically happens is that the frozen documents are converted into gas particles and end up evaporating into the air. Once al the moisture has evaporated, the documents will be left dry.
Things to Remember When It Comes To Document Drying
Although all the document drying types and tips can all be accomplished by yourself, you should always remember that there are professionals who can help you tackle these problems. Never hesitate to call your local paper restoration companies whenever you are in doubt or you simply need to get things done at a certain time frame. Even if some of these tips may seem simple enough, you can still get seriously hurt if you do not know how to handle the equipment needed to dry your documents.
Since there is a wide array of sources in bookstores and on the internet, it is highly advisable to read up on document drying and the different scenarios that could possible happen. By being well-informed on the subject matter, you will know exactly how to approach the pressing situation. Furthermore, whenever you talk to a paper restoration company, always try to learn more about the way they fix certain problems. By doing this you will be able to get a grasp of how to pinpoint what the situation needs so you can clearly describe the problem you are facing.
And lastly, if there are other people living in your house or if you are in your office, make it your responsibility to let everyone know the basics of document drying. This is an important task for you because in the event you are not around and a flood happens causing your documents to incur water damage, the people left should be able to know how to handle the situation.