Written by Andy Gurczak

August 21, 2022

Restore documents after a storm or fire

How to Restore Documents After a Storm or Fire

You’ve had a fire in your houses. Water used to put out the fire lies throughout your home. Or a hurricane hit your area, knocking trees through your roof and breaking windows. Consequently, rainwater permeates your home. In addition to the furniture and clothes the storm or fire damaged, the storm or fire damaged photos, paintings, books and other items. As a result, you need to know how to restore documents after a storm or fire.

There’s Good News- Moldy Books, Water-Soaked Files, Photographs and Other Vital Documents Can be Salvaged.

With the technology now available to a restoration company, when a natural disaster or fire damage occurs, the company can save wet or moldy books, papers.

However, when a flood, fire or other natural disaster damages a home or business, the property owner must act quickly. For instance, gathering damaged paper documents and beginning the recovery process is key. Consequently, immediately identifying small but important items made of paper, such as photographs, certificates and vital documents, will help prevent them from being lost for good.

Separating damaged items and putting items such as film or x-rays in a plastic bag will reduce damage to the items.

In a Fire, Smoke Damage Rarely Occurs by Itself

During a fire, smoke and soot damage documents. After the fire, documents are cleaned using special sponges made of pure latex rubber. Technicians remove soot particles from the edges of volumes and documents. Restoration company technicians use gentle sweeping motions, moving from the center out to the edges of the document.

Additionally, HEPA vacuums will trap the remaining soot or smoke residue.

Moreover, technicians will remove any remaining odors.

Typically, firefighting efforts involve large amounts of water. Of course, water damage follows.

However, restorations companies can restore water damaged pictures and documents. Experienced document restoration companies use the same vacuum freeze technique that the Library of Congress uses to dry water-damaged books.

In fact, this state-of-the-art technology is the only method approved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA).

Freeze drying documents is an effective way of reducing or eliminating mold growth.

As a result, using this technology, document restoration companies can restore most types of paper documents, including photos, photo albums, yearbooks, x-rays, and more.

Notably, vacuum freeze drying is the preferred method of document drying, as it does not alter the structure of paper fibers, unlike some other methods.

Why Are HEPA Vacuums Used?

Of course, people frequently use high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) vacuums for their homes to reduce the number of allergens and irritants in the air. However, in the document restoration world, restoration companies use them to clean documents damaged by water, mold, smoke, etc.

When restoration company technicians use vacuums with HEPA filters to clean documents, the vacuums capture mold spores, soot, dirt and bacteria. The filter traps them, which the vacuum’s canister contains within it.

The technicians use items like screens and special vacuum attachments with brushes, so they don’t damage the documents.

The technicians only use HEPA vacuums when documents are dry. Therefore, the bacteria and inactive mold spores they collect do not breed or grow within the filter.

Rather, the dry environment causes them to die because of lack of moisture.

Lastly, the restoration company technicians use gamma radiation to sterilize documents exposed to “black water.” Black water is sewage water or other water that may contain excessive bacteria.

As a word of caution, ink runs and ink and mold stain material they touch. Therefore, often runny ink and mold stains water-damaged documents. These stains soak into the paper’s fibers.

Consequently, they cannot be completely removed during disaster recovery.

In short, while many documents can be restored, they will not look new.

If You Need to Know How to Restore Documents After a Storm or Fire, Contact AllCity Public Adjusters

We are a family-owned claims company with five decades of combined adjusting experience. As a result, if there’s one thing we understand, it’s that you need 100% of your claim value.

As a homeowner, you have already gone through a tumultuous event. If a fire or flood water has damaged photos, paintings or other documents that are precious to you, we can help.

We have helped clients with document recovery insurance claims. We can help you file the claim and get the compensation you deserve.

At AllCity Adjusting we work to ensure you get 100% of your claim value. Equally important, with over 50 years of combined experience as insurance adjusters, we know insurance companies and understand where they cut corners.

Therefore, if you have filed a claim but only received a low-ball offer from the insurance company, or they are taking too long to process your claim, or you just want to talk to someone on your side, call us at 844.692.3587. Or you can email us at info@allcityadhjusting.com.

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Best way to beat the insurance company is to hire AllCity Adjusting

At AllCity Adjusting we help residential and commercial clients alike get the claims support they need. Moreover, we have over 50 years of combined experience helping get our clients the max settlement time and time again. If your claim has been low balled or denied entirely we can help increase your maximum settlement. Call us today for a FREE consultation. Experience the AllCity difference.

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