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Water Damage to Art and Memorabilia: 3 Tips To Dry Things Out - 5 Tips For What To Do After Damage

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Water Damage to Art and Memorabilia:

3 Tips To Dry Things Out

5 Tips For What To Do After Damage

"I got a call last evening from an office manager that had four inches of water in the office… piles of valuable office décor, framed items and company memorabilia had gotten wet. Timing was critical for getting the things dried out," said Scott M. Haskins, author of How To Save your Stuff From A Disaster" and Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Expert, "in order to not let mold take over."

Here are 3 very important Tips to follow:

1. Getting the items away from the wetness!

2. Drying out wet items means getting the air moving with fans and

3. Do NOT turn up the heat! It will accelerate the mold growth.

AP Press is reporting today; treacherous conditions of heavy winds, rain, ice and snow are everywhere in Southern California: Evacuations are in place, buildings along streams, canyons and rivers are on alert and even those usually safe are uneasy about leaking roofs, plugged up drains… and rivers in their streets.

"… the storm isn't over, and folks should not think this is crying wolf," said Laura Southard, a spokeswoman for Emergency Management.

"When we got there to help people" says flood relief community volunteer Matt Steward. "All we were asked to do is look for people's memorabilia floating in the water."

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

For those in the path of the storm, the horse is already out of the barn, referring to pre-damage preparation. As you read this, tens of thousands of Americans 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," Haskins says . "If it's valuable either financially, historically or emotionally, 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 treasured items and heirlooms from a disaster -- www.saveyourstuff.com. Some tips from the site for handling your wet items include:

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 for an experts help!

"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 that is now flaking? I recently visited yesterday with a woman who thought she suffered a total loss from damage to her collectibles over six months previously. She was still an emotional basket case. Upon inspection, all was not lost, her insurance company would pay to have them repaired and in the end, they could be returned to near perfect condition. With expert assistance and advice, 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 important 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."

Appraisal questions? www.faclappraisals.com 805 895 5121

Preservation and insurance questions? 805 564 3438


Scott M. Haskins, 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 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 Pope John Paul's family, the Shroud of Turin project and the Getty Conservation Institute among many others. He also wrote a booklet, "How To Respond After An Earthquake" of which 500,000 were distributed by the Bank of America Corp. in Los Angeles after the Northridge Earthquake.

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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