Restoring Physical Files After Water Damage Occurs
Dealing With Water Damage on Paper Documents
Written documents have always played a part in our lives. The one major drawback is that paper is susceptible to water damage. Water damage is not limited to a flood or accidental spillage. Having even a damp room puts documents at risk. Fungi like mold and mildew love damp, dark conditions, which means that boxes of documents stored in a basement are a mold and mildew paradise. If you've ever had water damage on paper documents, you know what we're talking about.
Fungi reproduce by making spores which travel through the air and start growing wherever they land. Opening one box of fungus-affected documents releases the spores. They can land on the next box and spread the damage.
Repairing Valuable Documents Damaged by Water
Trying to rescue wet documents on your own holds its own set of risks. There is a chance that you could do more harm than good. When you’ve had valuable documents damaged, it might be a good idea to call in a document recovery expert.
The first thing a document restoration expert will tell you is to leave the documents where they are. There may be toxic substances like fungi present. Handling the box without safety gear could expose you to them.
The water has already damaged the documents and moving them around can make the problem worse. Trying to pick up a wet box of documents can have disastrous results. The box may break, and the documents will fall out. Not only are they at risk of further damage, but they are also jumbled up in the process.
Hiring a Document Restoration Expert
Document recovery is the process of trying to save and preserve documents. A document restorer has specialized equipment to help them get the documents dry to minimize any damage. Many document recovery operations have special freeze dryers.
Think about a time you accidentally knocked a glass of water over on a document. The first thing you need to do is dry it. But if you dab the paper, the ink runs even more. So, you put it out on your desk and let it dry.
What a document restoration expert does is the same, but on a far bigger scale. A freeze dryer makes sure the documents dry more quickly than they would if exposed to the air.
The disadvantage of a document freeze dryer is that it can leave the paper very brittle once the process is complete. That’s why it’s essential to work with someone who is experienced and who knows how to freeze dry documents without further damaging them.
Dealing With Mold or Mildew
Most people would assume that the best and easiest thing to do is to take a cloth and wipe the mold off the document. While that would be simple and effective, it’s also hazardous.
You’d be sending every microscopic fungal spore in the mold or mildew flying into the air. You and the people around you could inhale them and become very ill.
To work with moldy papers, you should wear a particulate mask and latex gloves. Work on a piece of blank newspaper. Gently brush the mold off the paper and dispose of the blank newspaper. Even this is risky because you’ll still be spreading spores around despite your best efforts.
Hiring an Expert
The first and best place to start recovering from water damage on paper documents is with your document restoration expert. Some offer services that include removal of fungi in a controlled environment.
Others might be able to refer you to a specialist cleaning company that removes mold and mildew from many different objects, including documents. This approach minimizes the risk of making people ill.
You have likely heard people speaking about going paperless. This reduces the amount of paperwork they have as everything is stored digitally. More companies keep all their records online. Even documents like contracts can be signed, scanned, and uploaded to a database.
Old documents can be digitized for posterity. It’s highly unlikely that document restoration can repair valuable documents back to their original state, so keeping a digital record is important. In the unfortunate event that they are ruined, at least you’ll have a digital copy to access.
Commercial Document Digitization
Many organizations want to go paperless, but the idea of digitizing all that information can be daunting. Employees don’t have the time. That’s where commercial document digitization companies enter the picture.
These businesses take on digitizing all the documents a business has been storing as hard copies. Documents are scanned and allocated standardized file names and numbers so that they are easy to find. Employees dedicated to the task can quickly get all the paperwork digitized.
Document digitization saves a company a lot of time and money. There will no longer be a need to waste office space allocated to document storage. The area can be put to better use. Companies that have been renting space can save on the monthly lease payment.
Finding digitized documents is a lot easier than going down to the basement and spending hours looking for that one piece of paper your boss needs right away. Boxes get mixed up, and documents are misfiled, making it virtually impossible to find anything without a struggle.
The Importance of Document Remediation
Many commercial document digitization operations also offer their clients document remediation options. Document remediation converts a standard digital document into a resource that visually and hearing-impaired employees can access.
In line with laws and regulations regarding accessibility for people with disabilities, documents are remediated to ensure equal access to information.
Using enhanced technology to both store and disseminate your documents makes storage more straightforward than it’s ever been before. The worry about what will happen if documents are damaged is alleviated.
The treatment of all employees, regardless of their level of physical ability, is addressed. The non-discriminatory trend of document remediation has been favorably received by equality rights groups worldwide.