When Hurricanes Meet Paper Records and Microfilm

Having served the information management industry for over 50 years we have seen a lot. We have help organizations prepare for disasters by scanning records and microfilm and we have also helped companies recover and save to information that was compromised via natural disasters.

Water Damage is a serious disaster when it comes to information preservation. We remember the records under water from Hugo; the flooded basements in New York City from Sandy; the black mold in property records in Houston; the soggy Red Cross records of Katrina; and now the devastation from Harvey and Irma.

If there was one word of advice we could offer the world it would be this: Prepare!

RULE #1: No one is safe: don't gamble with your information.

RULE #2: If your information is valuable protect it before it is damaged. The reason for this recommendation is primarily based on two facts of information life:

Fact 1: If your microfilm or paper gets wet it will cost you huge sums of money to process, wash, dry, and image. You also don't have much time to act after water is exposed to paper and micrographic records. Why? Paper quickly can develop black mold which creates a biohazard. We have seen huge records centers in Houston (200,000 square feet) closed by the Department of Health due to the discovery of black mold. Masks, gloves and special teams all lead to an expense that becomes astronomical or it results in lost information.







Microfilm is an entirely different situation. If Microfilm get wet and then dries it sticks together and bonds. Once this occurs your information is inaccessible and a roll of microfilm will resemble a hockey puck.

Fact 2: Business disruption. When information is not accessible that is being saved due to its importance to the business operations and functionsthe business suffers. Invoices are written off as backup documentation is missing; patient's health is at risk as their patient history is lost; legal battles are lost, and the list goes on.

Fact 3: It will always cost you more after you have a problem.

Pro-active: Cost to scan a page $.10

Disaster Recovery: Cost to Recover a page $.75 +

What to do:

  1. If a disaster impacts your records and your paper and microfilm become wet contact experts quickly as time is of the essence.
  2. If your information on paper and microfilm is important to you begin scanning and creating digital records as a normal course of business and work to eliminate big archives of paper with scanning and destruction process.
  3. As stated, working with distressed media can be up to 7.5 times more expensive or more than traditional electronic images within your office.

Jim Sheridan: EVP Sales and Marketing

DRS Imaging Services Inc.

Convenient Locations: Miami, Houston, Atlanta, NYC, Virginia, New Jersey, Puerto Rico.