The 7 Steps of Business Document Recovery After a Disaster

Tue, Jun 03, 2014
By: Jacob Gilmore
The 7 Steps of Business Document Recovery After a Disaster

Disasters often don’t give warning. Flash flooding, fires, tornados or a pipe bursting in your building can happen suddenly. Even traceable weather events like hurricanes can intensify within hours and turn into a more serious threat.

Whatever the situation, damage to your business from weather or another cause can leave important records wet, burned or stained. Though important documents and records might appear damaged beyond repair, with the proper equipment and staff, wet or burned records can often be recovered.

With the recent historical flooding in Northwest Florida and Alabama and hurricane season officially begun it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. Disaster recovery teams like BMS CAT and Gilmore Services are on constant lookout for the disasters we sometimes don’t see coming. How do they recover your water-soaked or burned documents? Here are 7 essential steps to document recovery after a disaster.

1. Inventory process:

After a damaging weather event, Gilmore Services is on the scene to take inventory of business’s documents. From here, they determine which documents need to be sent off for recovery and which documents need shredding services. This strong inventory process is an important first step to keep information organized in the wake of a disaster.

2. Transportation:

For documents that need to be recovered, Gilmore Services has equipment to freeze and prepare documents for transportation. What is important about this step is the chain of custody over your documents during transportation. Without accurate inventory, a chain of custody that keeps your records safe can’t be provided. Gilmore and BMS CAT are both in compliance with laws and regulations and require rigorous background checks for all employees to ensure your records are secure during transportation.  

3. Freeze dry:

One of the most crucial steps in document recovery is freeze-drying. Freeze drying is recognized as a document recovery best practice because it removes moisture in a document, turning it into gas. This process protects the integrity of the document and improves certain qualities. Because documents that dry out naturally warp and become more distorted, freeze-drying is the only process that keeps them in similar condition after they dry.

4. Clean:

Of course, freeze-drying is the first priority for wet documents, but it is not the only priority. It is also important to make sure newly dried documents are clean. Here, a team uses special sponges to rub off silt or mold from documents.

5. Sanitize:

To make sure documents are safe to be sent back to customers, they must be sanitized and sterilized. This step helps customers avoid risk by having clean and sanitized documents returned to them. 

6. Audit:

Before documents are returned to customers, the customer name, building and floor number and box number must be evaluated. This process of certifying the inventory keeps all records organized for the disaster recovery team and their customer.

7. Return:

This step, like the first, means documents are transported back to customers with a strong chain of custody. Only this time, the documents are clean and dry, helping businesses rebuild after a disaster.

When a disaster happens, it is necessary to be prepared. If your wet documents need to be recovered or shredded after a flood, fire or other disaster, contact us. Our document shredding experts are here to answer your questions and help your business start to recover.