Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma are the only Category 4 Atlantic storms to ever hit the United States in the same year – let alone the same two weeks. While Hurricane Harvey hit southern Texas hard by stalling over the Houston area, Irma left widespread devastation, and flooding in Florida area. According to a preliminary estimate, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused between $150 billion and $200 billion in damage to Texas and Florida, comparable to the costs from Hurricane Katrina. Loss of important documents and other valuable assets is highly probable during hurricane and flood situations. When it comes to protecting confidential documents while preparing for such distressing natural events, document scanning solutions can be the ideal support. Many of those who were rescued from their homes wished they were better prepared during the flood warning itself.
The best time to take steps to protect your most important documents is well before a storm threatens your residential or commercial property. Though some reports recommend storing important documents including marriage licenses, insurance policies, family photos, contracts and more in the dishwasher during a hurricane, many experts are against this suggestion. This is because in cases of severe damage, a dishwasher could get opened or destroyed during a storm. Though these appliances are water-tight, they will not necessarily keep things dry in case of flooding. Besides flooding, extreme wind can tear apart such appliances.
Science News recently published a study which says that documents, books and similar items soaked and muddied in waters produced by hurricane floods may be saved with the use of electronic beam technology. This technology that is useful for killing mold, fungus and bacteria that invade moist environments could also be used on items such as passports, birth, marriage or death certificates, and books damaged by Hurricane Harvey flood waters.
When it comes to business, essential documents and records that must be protected before any disaster include blueprints, building schematics, disaster plans, client records, insurance policies, payroll records, inventory lists, licenses and permits, tax documents, lease agreements, contracts as well as documents required by regulatory agencies.
Though it has been recommended to store documents in a fireproof, watertight container, or take them with you, digital copies can provide better peace of mind. Consider document scanning and imaging. Scan your most important documents and save the electronic versions to an external drive or a secure online cloud storage solution. The files saved on a USB flash drive or external hard drive must be kept safe in a secure off-site location. Cloud software is available that can automatically backup and save your electronic records so you can access them from any Internet-connected device. A professional data conversion company will use state-of-the-art scanning equipment to scan various types of hardcopy documents.