One of the elements that businesses can overlook in a disaster preparedness plan is document recovery. Protecting critical business documents is important and should have its own dedicated section in a preparedness plan as it provides guidance to ensure the prompt recovery and salvaging of essential documents after a disaster.
What to Include in the Document Recovery Section of a Disaster Preparedness Plan
In regards to salvaging documents, the Oregon Association of Municipal Records and Secretary of State recommend adding the following elements to a preparedness plan:
Business records identification: Classify and prioritize documents in order of recovery-related importance:
- Critical: Records necessary to aid emergency responders during a disaster
- Essential: Irreplaceable documents needed within the first 72 hours following a disaster to ensure the company’s daily operations
- Important: Vital documents that are difficult to replace
- Useful: Replaceable documents of which the loss is more of an inconvenience than a barrier to everyday operations
- Non-essential: Documents whose loss would not hinder business continuity
As you classify the documents, note their location and indicate if they are physical or electronic records. Also, indicate the location of duplicate and backed-up files.
- Risk assessments: To help make prevention- and recovery-related decisions, assess the types of risks that could damage documents. Potential risks could include environmental, technical and logistical risks. Then consider the likelihood of each risk occurring and the impact it may have on your business.
Consider how to prevent document damage: Outline the different ways the business can keep records safe and prevent the need for document recovery services. Ideas may include:
- Smart storage practices
- Conduct regular inspections
- Water damage prevention
- Fire damage prevention
- Prevent theft and vandalism
Identify ways to protect records: Outline how the business intends to protect the documents based on their importance. Common ways to protect documents include:
- Using onsite storage
- Offsite storage solutions
Outline the recovery and salvaging process: Indicate how the business will safely recover and stabilize the documents, as well as analyze and record the extent of the damage. Also, list the contractor that will salvage the documents and the types of recovery services your business may need to access.
Create a document recovery plan: The document salvaging plan that you include in your business’ disaster preparedness plan should have the following components:
- The recovery plan’s policy and goals
- Delegation of authority
- List of employee and/or disaster team responsibilities
- Emergency contact list
- An inventory of the business’ documents and copies, listed in order of priority, and their locations; do the same for electronic files
- A list of documents needed to ensure the restoration of daily operations
- A copy of the latest building plans
- Contract agreements
The recovery method a document restoration company uses depends on a business’ salvage priorities, the type of document and the extent of the damage. Recovery methods include:
- Vacuum freeze drying: Freezing and drying records in a vacuum chamber. The water in the documents transforms into ice that vaporizes in the chamber to prevent further damage.
- Desiccant dehumidification: Using a dehumidifier that absorbs moisture and blows dry air throughout a room or area, causing the water in wet documents to evaporate.
Knowing how your business will recover its most valuable assets after a disaster is essential to business continuity. To create a successful document recovery plan, partner with a disaster recovery service that will guide you through each step of the planning process. Call Polygon today to learn more about how to plan for recovery and our document cleaning, drying & restoration services.