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Heavy Snow Storms Arriving - 5 Tips to Protect Your Stuff Before - 5 Tips to Save Your Stuff After Damage
From:
Scott M. Haskins --  Art Damage Expert Witness Scott M. Haskins -- Art Damage Expert Witness
,
Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Lots of snow means wet... wet stuff means mold.
 
For Immediate Release

Contact Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

Fax (805) 568-1178

Heavy Snow Storms Arriving

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 numerous northern states will be under a new heavy blanket of snow shortly; treacherous and damaging conditions will be everywhere. Winter blasts often cause tens of thousands of power outages and wet conditions that can attack homes and offices. Nearly two feet of snow have already fallen in some areas, and the nation's capital was under a blizzard warning last week.

"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.

After everyone is safe and accounted for in these storms, the biggest reason people get upset… or even mourn… is when there's damage or a loss to treasures family documents, photos, books etc. These are damaged and lost memories, things that can't be paid for by insurance: family history, personal keepsakes and beloved memorabilia.

"But damage or loss of these items doesn't have to happen!," says Scott M. Haskins, preservation specialist and disaster response expert (www.preservationcoach.com). "Its totally avoidable." "Here are 5 tips a person can do to protect personal and family items:

1. Make copies of documents and photos and keep them at another location (preferably out of the area/city)

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 photos and paper items on high ground (top shelf of a closet)

5. Store fragile or breakable items low to the ground (in case the house gets shaken and items fall off of shelves).

"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 memorabilia and heirlooms from a disaster -- www.saveyourstuff.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. DO THIS IMMEDIATELY.

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."

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Haskins is the author of "How to Save Your Stuff from a Disaster," ( www.saveyourstuff.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 consults 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.

Mr. Haskins provides FREE expert content on emergency preparedness and disaster planning of important personal items at home or in the office for blogs and newsletters that will be redistributed by corporations and organizations to their membership and the public. This information is of particular interest to Human Resource officers and those who implement Homeland Security guidelines.

 
Scott M. Haskins
Conservator, Author
www.saveyourstuff.com
Santa Barbara, CA
805-564-3438
805 568 1178