The Secret to Saving Damaged Documents: What Is Document Recovery and How Does It Work?

Do you have important and irreplaceable paper documents at your home or business? In the event of an emergency or disaster, how likely are you to grab those papers?

Only after the threat has passed will you realize the importance of those documents. By then, your papers may have severe damage. What should you do in this situation? Is document recovery possible?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to recover your documents.

Help! My Documents Are at Risk After a Disaster

It’s gut-wrenching to walk into your business or home to discover a mass of damaged documents. It’s tempting to rush over and start blow drying your papers but resist the urge.

Here’s what you should do instead:

  1. Do a brief inventory of the damage
  2. Determine which documents should take priority
  3. Consider reaching out to a document recovery service
  4. Remain safe. Recognize the hazards associated with contaminated water on your documents
  5. Handle the papers as little as possible.

If you own a business, then these steps should get incorporated into your disaster plan. That way, you can prevent irreversible document damage in the event of a disaster.

In the last year alone, Americans have shelled out over $91 billion on disaster recovery. Extreme weather continues to increase, so it’s important to have a preparedness plan.

Is Document Recovery Possible?

You can attempt to recover damaged documents on your own, but you do so at your own risk. Often, individuals will try to repair damaged documents by letting them air dry.

Here’s why that isn’t the best idea:

  • Documents may get distorted
  • Mold will develop within 48 hours
  • Contaminated water may have deposited debris that won’t come off after drying
  • Documents may dry stuck together

What happens when the above occurs? It can become impossible to restore damage documents still have after drying. This is especially true for debris that becomes embedded.

Common Document Recovery Methods

Instead, what types of methods do document recovery services use? Here are a few:

  • Cleaning the damaged documents
  • Freeze drying
  • Vacuum freeze drying (sublimation)
  • Compression
  • Sanitizing the dried document

This extensive process needs to begin as soon as possible. Experts will start working with the most damaged documents first.

First, each paper, book, or photograph will get soaked in clean water. This step removes debris like rust, dirt, or salt. If your documents came into contact with sewage, then it’s recommended you call in the experts.

Then, your documents will likely get compressed and frozen. Freezing is a safe and effective way to allow the paper to dry. It prevents further damage and reduces the risks of mold.

Taking the Next Steps Towards Recovery

Document recovery is possible, but it’s a very delicate process. While there’s no guarantee, experts are more likely to succeed in saving your papers.

Have you recently experienced a disaster? Do you have important documents or data in need of recovery services? Reach out to us now using our online contact form or on our emergency response hotline at 888-753-7587.


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