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Blizzard-Like Storm Slammes Into East. 5 Tips to Protect and Save - Before and After

Water Means Mold
For Immediate Release

Contact Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

Fax (805) 568-1178

Blizzard-like Storm Slams East

5 Tips To Save And Protect Your Stuff Before

5 Great Tips To Save Important Items AFTER They Are Damaged

AP Press is reporting today that Washington is under blanket of snow; treacherous conditions are everywhere: An Atlantic coast storm causing flight cancellations by a Winter blast hitting the East causing tens of thousands of power outages and some 500 people sought warmth and refuge in emergency shelters.

"The snow has not stopped falling, the storm isn't over, and folks should not think this is crying wolf," said Laura Southard, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Nearly two feet of snow fell in some areas, and the nation's capital was under a blizzard warning. Public transportation nearly ground to a halt, but it wasn't enough to keep senators from staying in session to debate health care reform. The slow-moving storm was headed to the northeast.

After everyone is safe and accounted for, the biggest reason people mourn after a loss from a storm or disaster is for the lost memories, things that can't be paid for by insurance: family history, personal keepsakes and beloved memorabilia.

"But it doesn't have to be that way," says Scott M. Haskins, preservation specialist and disaster response expert (www.preservationcoach.com). "Here are 5 tips a person can do to protect personal and family items:

1. Make copies of documents and photos and keep them someplace else (out of the area)

2. The ink on good laser copies won't run with water. Photocopy, photocopy, photocopy

3. Many photos kept on hard drives can be copied to relatives

4. Find a place to store items on high ground (top shelf of a closet)

5. The heat of attics won't be good for original old photos and papers.

"If it seems like a big discouraging job and you have too much stuff to copy, start with the few most important things," Haskins says. "Do the job a little at a time."

But, of course, for those in the path of the storm, the horse is already out of the barn. As you read this, millions of Americans – with the onslaught of foul weather -- are cleaning up and searching for cherished items of family memories that have been damaged and seem ruined. Frozen, soaked, water stained, moldy and then crumpled up…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," Haskins says . "If it's valuable to your family, don't throw it out just because it's stained, moldy, wet or torn. There may be a way to get help."

The restoration expert runs a Web site which gives tips on saving family heirlooms from a disaster -- www.saveyourstuff.com.com. "There are some great, very helpful FREE downloads to help you." Here are 5 great tips on what to do to save your stuff AFTER its damaged:

1. Cradle wet papers, documents and light books in a strong paper towel. Don't handle them with your fingers: They will rip.

2. Putting muddy, dirty photos in a clean tray (tub) of water will keep them stable for days until you can get help or coaching.

3. Blot, blot, blot. Don't scrub and rub on your books, photos and collectables.

4. 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.

5. Call a professional for help… perhaps to just get another opinion, but talk to someone!

"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 be like that."

"Stay hopeful and find help," Haskins says to those who have suffered damage. "Much can be done to recoup your treasured family items, even if it's 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."


Haskins is the author of "How to Save Your Stuff from a Disaster," (www.saveyourstuff.com.com) a non-technical book with instructions on how to protect and save your family history, heirlooms and memorabilia. The author, has worked in both Europe and the U.S. as a professional conservator for the last 35 years. He routinely treats and saves items damaged by water and mold. He has consulted with people nationally on innumerable disaster situations. 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 Pope John Paul's family, the Shroud of Turin project and the Getty Conservation Institute among many others. He also wrote a booklet on "How To Respond After An Earthquake" of which over 500,000 were distributed by the Bank of America Corp. after the Northridge Earthquake, in Los Angeles.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Scott M. Haskins
Title: Author, Art Conservation/Restoration, Pets and Heirlooms, Art Damage, Expert Witness
Group: www.fineartconservationlab.com
Dateline: Santa Barbara, CA United States
Direct Phone: 805-564-3438
Cell Phone: 805 570 4140
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