Santa Barbara, CA
Saturday, June 14, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438
Fax (805) 568-1178
Help! A Disaster! How to Preserve Your Family Memorabilia
As you read this, tens of thousands of Americans – after the severe weather in the northern regions of the Midwest -- are cleaning up and searching for cherished items of family memories that have been damaged and seem ruined. The question, "What to do now?" has an answer.
"Knowing what to do after a disaster has struck may allow you to save your most cherished possessions," says conservator and preservationist Scott Haskins. "After a disaster, once everyone is safe, families don't lament a damaged home, cars or artwork as much as they cry over items of a family's history that have been lost or ruined. These items may not have had much monetary value, but they cannot be replaced with insurance money"
"If it's valuable to your family, don't throw it out just because it's stained, moldy, wet or torn," Haskins says. "There may be a way to get help"
Of course, before the disaster hits, protecting what is dear to you will save you heartache and (perhaps many) thousands of dollars. But that is no comfort to those sloshing through the ruined memories of their homes and storage areas in the Midwest.
"Perhaps the best two items you can get after you've had water damage is a big fan to move the air and as many paper towels as you can find," Haskins suggests. "Blot, blot, blot. Don't scrub and rub on your books, photos and collectables"
The nationally known restoration expert runs a Web site which gives tips on saving family heirlooms from a disaster -- www.preservationhelp.com.
"Have you had books ruined by mold or photos that have stuck together in a pile?" Haskins asks. "Perhaps you have had frames bashed, a painting that was torn or items that were smoke damaged? I visited yesterday with a woman who suffered a total loss because of the toxic smoke from a fire over six months ago. She was still an emotional basket case. With some proper instruction and help, it doesn't have to end like that"
Haskins has years of experience with earthquakes, floods, mold, fire and everyday home accidents and is the author of "How to Save Your Stuff from a Disaster," a non-technical book with instructions on how to protect and save your family history, heirlooms and memorabilia. Besides instructions on how to protect and save papers, books, ceramics, glass, furniture, silver, paintings or frames, Haskins writes about how to deal with your insurance company as well many other helpful instructions"
"When it comes to items of value, an appraisal is going to mean the difference between feeling deprived or ripped off by your insurance company and feeling like you've got a helping hand," says English born, internationally accredited appraiser Richard Holgate. His California based appraisal services, available through his website www.faclappraisals.com, extend a helping hand and counseling to people all across the US. "When searching for an appraiser, be sure to work with one who has your best interests at heart. There is leeway in the values given"
"Stay hopeful and find help," says Haskins to those who have suffered damage. "Much can be done to recoup your treasured family items, even if it's been a long time after the fact"
The cost? "Yes, that's a major factor," Haskins says. "That's why I try to empower the homeowner to do as much as possible. Most of the items to be retrieved have no monetary value. Every dollar has to stretch a long way, especially in times of crisis"
The author, Scott M. Haskins, has worked in both Europe and the U.S. as a professional conservator for the last 33 years. He routinely treats and saves items damaged by water and mold. He has been personally involved in six "major" California disasters: three earthquakes (Silomar '71, Whittier '89 and Northridge '94), two fires (Santa Barbara '90 and Oakland '93) and one flood (Santa Barbara '95) and has consulted with people on innumerable other accidents. He works with the general public, historical societies, museums, corporations, private collectors, art galleries, state governments and the federal government. He is an expert witness in the Los Angeles Supreme Court system and on the part of the federal government regarding public art issues. He has done consultation work for a long list of notable organizations including Pope Paul III's family, the Shroud of Turin project, the Historical Dept of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Getty Conservation Institute among many others. He also wrote a booklet on earthquake response of which several 500,000 were distributed in Los Angeles after the Northridge Earthquake.
Scott M. Haskins
Santa Barbara, CA