Pre-disaster review: Locate and document the types of records and their current condition and the current building environment. From Iowa floods had 75 tractor trailer loads of documents. Make the decision on what you are planning to keep – in advance. It is possible to make some decisions after the freeze-drying process.
Identify the records which can be electronically reproduced. Make sure to get the political agreement within the organization.
You have to be smart about FEMA reimbursement. You can have an archive company which can understand and know the key players.
Evaluation includes visual inspection, moisture mapping, air sampling. Document photographically.
Talk with companies in advance and look at their physical plant. You need a group which can triage stuff for you (and without you).
Getting a baseline is critical. There will most likely be documents which you cannot recover, or cannot be recovered without huge expense.
Risks and resources outside the building include proximity to rivers and other bodies of water and nearby industrial sites (industrial demographics). It is important to know about resources in the community including highways and rail access, cold storage and refrigeration units, and warehouse space.
Create categories of documents:
- Category 1 shows little or no evidence of damage
- Category 2 shows visible evidence of damage but can be restored to a usable condition
- Category 3 shows visible evidence of extreme damage and should be discarded.
Assess the scope of the disaster, what kind of event has happened and how widespread is the damage.
- Level I – the event is localized and containable. The building can remain open.
- Level II – is a single event that is contrainable. The building may or may not remain open, but can recover.
- Level III – is a catastrophic event that impedes the long term use.
Determine damages, determine what resources are needed, develop protocols for the event, bring the resources to the table, and monitor to make sure that only needed services are provided. Make sure that you do not use only one firm for anything. Service providers may respond with what they have not necessarily what you need. You will be second guessed.
Why are we doing this? Wet materials are very time sensitive, the sooner the documents are dried the more favorable the results.
How to get paid for the disaster: Generally never see a FEMA person (employee), usually dealing with a consultant or contractor. You need to mitigate damages is the key. Make sure that resources and equipment are removed as soon as reasonable. The Clerk of the Works assists with reimbursement and documentation.
Go out now and talk with FEMA and other officials locally to be prepared in advance.