How To Shred Flood And Fire Damaged Documents
The Shredding of wet documents can be a challenge! Many homeowners and businesses in Massachusetts have been hit hard by Hurricanes and winter storms. Flood water has damaged property and basements, and in many cases, has soaked personal items including photos and personal documents. The wet paper may look useless, but a thief using only a blow dryer could use it to steal your identity and access your information, your business, your associates and your clients.
After a hurricane, we get hundreds of calls from local business owners and government agencies in Boston area inquiring about shredding wet documents. We often explain that any wet document must be dried out first before shredding since the consistency of wet papers will jam even industrial strength shredders.
[message type=”info”] You should not throw away any wet, sensitive documents and assume that thieves will not be able to extract personal information. Always shred what you don’t read[/message]
Customers should be leery if some shredding companies claim to accept your wet or mildew infested documents. In many cases, the papers are dried in warehouses and shredded at a later time. Business owners and residents should rest assured that their documents are shredded right away with our secure shredding service.
How To Handle Wet Documents
First, don’t panic. Mold does not appear instantly so you may have some time to plan the removal of this material. But, you need to figure out what you have and if you really need it. Some records must be kept for legal reasons and others for business continuity reasons.
Second, stabilize the room… whether you are keeping the records or not. This means pumping out any standing water. Reduce humidity and increase air circulation with fans and dehumidifiers. If the outside air is cooler and less humid, open doors and windows to blow that outside air in. But if you do this, remember to post security to ensure the confidentiality of your records.
Third, it’s time for that hard look at what you have. Frequently it is easier and less expensive in the end to shred the paper and restore records from electronic backups. If this is not practical, you may be able to air-dry the paper if the records are only damp and if there aren’t too many. If they are soaked through and business-critical, you probably need to freeze-dry them.
For smaller amounts of the wet document, you may want to try to salvage the contents yourself. Get everything out of the wet cardboard boxes. Spread out the files on absorbent material like paper towels, keep the air moving, and shuffle and turn over the files every so often to let them all dry. If the material is expired and you no longer need it, don’t just trash it! Call Neighborhood Parcel at (978)636-0301 to help you properly remove the wet documents for shredding and safeguarding your identity.
- Do not throw away wet or waterlogged documents containing sensitive or personal information.
- Do not shred wet documents with an inexpensive shredder as the consistency of the moist paper may destroy the shredder.
- Wet documents should be dried out outdoors by the sun or placed alongside a dehumidifier until dry to touch[/message]
Neighborhood Parcel recommends that businesses located in Massachusetts and flood zones should shred monthly and residential customers shred annually to reduce the buildup of personal documents and reduce their risk.
I woke up to a wet basement last month and did not know what to do with all my wet files and personal documents. After the damage claim was settled, I started looking for a reliable shredding service company and most would not handle my wet files until I heard of Neighborhood Parcel. You guys were quick to come by and handle my personal files securely. I was nervous that my information may be exposed but was happy to hear that you guys with HIPAA compliant. A++ for the great service
Many G Belmont MA