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Dealing With Water Damaged Documents

Aug 18, 2007
Marriage, birth, and death certificates are only a few of the hundreds of different important documents and items that we have in our homes that can become damaged by flood waters or other kinds of leaks.

Most of us do not know how to safely deal with these items once the damage is already done.

The first thing that you should know is that there is not any reason to panic, unless you have been away from your home for more than two days. It takes two days for mold to begin to grow on these items, so one of the first things that you should do is make the environment unfriendly to mold.

Keep the house around 65 degrees Fahrenheit if you can and reduce the humidity. If there is any standing water still in the house, remove it as quickly as possible.

Be careful, however, of any electrical hazards that might still exist and make sure the electricity to the house is off before you go rushing into any soaked areas. The possibility of electrocution is very real if the power is not off.

Air circulation in the house should be increased with fans if the air outside is not warmer or more humid than the air inside.

If there are any emergency repairs that need to be made inside the house to ensure your safety, do them immediately.

The next thing you should do is figure out what documents in your home are going to need to be salvaged.

This will include the documents listed above, marriage, birth, and death certificates, along with any insurance papers, divorce papers, and almost any other legal documents you have on hand.

If the materials are not completely soaked in water, it is possible to just air dry them and they will be fine. If they have been submerged for long, the best bet is to have them frozen and freeze-dried by a local facility.

Buy some freezer wrap from your local grocery store if they have it and use it to separate documents and books from each other when you pack them into boxes.

Remove the most important items (i.e. legal documents, antique books of any value) first and if there are any less important items that you want to save (high school diplomas, anything that is one-of-a-kind, books), remove those second.

Do not pack anything tightly in the freezer paper, just tight enough to keep the items from sticking to each other or to the inside of the box.

Label each box with its contents and your contact information and have them transferred to the nearest freeze dry facility.
About the Author
Jim Corkern is a writer and promoter of quality
flood and water damage cleanup and
water damage restoration> companies across the united states.
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