After taking care of the busted pipe, you move on to the clean up phase. When you go to pick up the boxes, the bottoms have disintegrated and your stuff falls in the mucky water. What are you going to do? How are going to salvage your stuff?
We’ve got some tips for you, because we love dispensing advice and you. We’re the archival mothers you never knew you needed.
Go to a room in your house/business that has an overhead fan, or place a fan in the room. You want air circulation, but not direct air on the fliers and notebooks. If you can take the wet items away to another location, that might be a good idea. Ultimately, you want to avoid drying the items in a space with high humidity, which can lead to mold.
Wet Fliers? Carefully separate all of the pages and let them dry on a table. While they dry, monitor them for signs of mold.
Have some plain, white paper towels handy. Take one sheet and place it in between the cover and the first page. Skip 10-15 pages and place another paper towel sheet in between the pages. Every few hours check the sheets. If they are wet, then replace. Continue this process until the notebook pages are dry.
Rinse the disc in clean water, preferably bottled water. Set it on a clean surface to dry. Avoid trying to clean the disc by rubbing it with a towel.
Wet Magnetic Tape
Rinse the tape in clean water, preferably bottled water. Then, let it dry in a cool room with circulating air. Only when it’s dry should you try to play it. If the tape looks dirty, then don’t play it on your equipment. You don’t want to damage your equipment.
If the tape is super important, then send it to a conservator before it dries.
Wet External Hard Drive
Just to give you the sads, if you’re external hard drive was in one of those boxes on the ground, it might be toast. You can wrap it in a towel, place it in a plastic bag, and ship it off to this company. They’ll try to recover your data. If you followed the 3-2-1 rule, then you can avoid paying an outside company because you have back-ups, baby.
If you want even more detailed disaster recovery tips, then check out the Northeast Document Conservation Center and the National Film and Sound Archive.