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Recovering from Water Damage: The First 48 Hours

In the event of flood or water damage in your facility, the following is recommended for Paper Documents*:

Documents should be air-dried flat, as individual sheets or in small piles up to ¼”. Interleave documents prior to drying and replace interleaving materials when they become damp. Do not unfold or separate individual wet sheets.

If items are too numerous for air-drying:

  1. Interleave documents, by groups or individually, with freezer or waxed paper.
  2. Pack sturdy containers 90% full with interleaved documents that are supported and standing up.
  3. Freeze.

If documents cannot be dried within 48 hours, freeze them until action can be taken. Freezing stabilized collections stops mold growth, ink running, dye transfer and swelling. A sub-zero commercial freezer is best, but a home freezer will work. A refrigerated truck will also keep materials cool enough to slow mold growth.

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*Excerpt from Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel™, ©2005 Heritage Preservation, Inc.