Document restoration experts know more than just how to dry wet documents. For instance, they should also have a strong understanding of how to reverse mold and mildew damage as well as smoke damage. However, because the field of disaster recovery services is fairly young, many consumers are simply unaware of what they should expect from document restoration firms.
To know whether any contractor is doing his or her job well, it’s key to have a performance rubric. Most people could judge the performance of a plumber, for instance, since they know what functional plumbing looks like and what plumbers do. Just what do document restoration specialists do? Here are a few of the tasks they commonly perform as part of their disaster recovery services:
- Restoration of water damaged documents.
- Eradication of pest-infested documents, often through blast freezing.
- Disinfection and irradiation of damaged documents.
- Restoration of documents damaged by mold, mildew, smoke and fire.
- Archival-quality remediation for museums, libraries and others.
- Drying of books and documents.
- Restoration of alternative document materials, including X-rays, film, blueprints, maps and even vellum and parchment.
- Scanning and photocopying documents both as they are being restored (for easy client access) and as a way to protect firms against future damage.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what document restoration companies do, let’s turn to the question of how to find the best firm for your needs.
Response time. The longer documents are left in their soiled state, the more severe the damage. Ink breaks down over time; mold and other microorganisms penetrate paper more deeply; fungi need water to grow. Time is definitely of the essence in this field, and a top-notch provider of disaster recovery services will work with speed. Ask how your document restoration company stabilizes damaged documents – blast freezing is the industry standard for this.
Technological assets. There are two professional approaches for how to dry out wet documents: desiccant air drying, which cycles vapor pressures to encourage dryness, and vacuum-freeze drying, in which liquids are converted to gas in a vacuum environment and then expelled from the vacuum chamber. This nifty technology allows documents to go directly from frozen to dry without the wet intermediary stage. Ask each document restoration firm about its plan for your documents and which technology it recommends.
Access to documents during restoration. Leading document restoration firms offer their clients near-continual access to damaged documents throughout the restoration process. Oftentimes, document scanning is used to make all files available. This makes it much easier for companies to continue doing business while their files are being restored.
Expertise. Does the company in question use temporary labor, or have they assembled a team of experienced document restoration experts?
These areas of concern will help you vet the best disaster recovery services. Of course, you’ll also want to consider typical vendor qualifications such as experience, testimonials and price. Finally, we recommend favoring disaster recovery services that will work with you to create a plan before disaster strikes. Partnering in this way speeds the recovery process and minimizes business interruption.
[ Photo by: americaswildlife, via CC License ]