You Can Salvage Precious Memories if You Act Quickly
Whether you are dealing with the aftermath of a severe storm or a water line break, the resulting damage can spread far and wide. Further, though the process of dealing with restoration can be draining, it can be handled fairly quickly. Walls can be rebuilt, furniture can be replaced. But what about the things that cannot be as easily found at the store? Things like family photos are both delicate and irreplaceable, but you may not have to write them off as a total loss if you act decisively.
Take a Moment to Plan
Though it is indeed important to act quickly, it is just as important that you work smart, not hard. Take a breath, and make sure you are doing everything you can to ensure success. First, if there is still standing water anywhere, take precautions to protect yourself. Then you should take a moment to thoroughly assess the severity of the damage. Is the photo stuck under anything? Is it surrounded by broken glass? Is it stuck to something else? Make sure that whatever you do to pick up the photo isn’t causing more damage.
Deal with photo albums first – the longer they wait, the more their plastic coverings are likely to peel up parts of the image. For peel-off pages, you should be able to just carefully remove the plastic, but some may require the use of a precision blade. If the album has slots, do not slide out the photographs. Instead, use a knife to cut around the plastic and pull it off of the front of the images and remove the paper backing. If you have stacks of photos stuck together, place them in a tub of clean water. Though it may seem strange, keeping them wet can actually help you to unstick them without damaging the images. Be careful and deliberate in this process, and be certain you don’t leave them in the tub for too long, more than a day or so.
Once you have your photos safely removed from the immediate area with as little further damage as possible, your next worry is mold: while you are almost guaranteed to have colonies begin to grow within 72 hours, they can also appear in as few as 24. Once this happens, it is much more difficult to rescue the photos – which is why your next step is to keep the mold from growing altogether by freezing them. Before placing them in the freezer, carefully remove photos from any type of frame and separate each individual photo with waxed paper to keep them from freezing together. Once you’ve done this, you have a bit more time to deal with other pressing matters, knowing that your keepsakes are at least not sustaining further damage.
Once you are able and have a safe, dry space to work in, cover a designated table in paper towels and set up one or more fans in the room. You want the fans around the same height as the table, but never pointed directly at it (this avoids blowing the photos around the room). In small batches, spread out the frozen photos in a single layer on top of the paper towels. This should help to pull moisture away slowly and carefully. It may also be a good idea to change out the paper towels beneath the photos to ensure they are not sitting on anything damp for very long.
No matter what kind of flooding situation you are dealing with, the team at All Dry Services is here to help. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.