Disaster recovery of flood or fire-damaged records

Disaster recovery of records can be on a widely differing scale from overflowing watercourses, inundation from storms or simply a burst water pipe or dripping tap. All can cause significant damage to immediately located records or a wider area. When records have become wet they are extremely vulnerable to damage. This danger increases as time passes, so urgent action is required.

In the aftermath of a fire you need to move quickly, decisively and knowledgeably to recover as many records as possible. If you have had a fire in your record storage area, you will most likely have charred, sooty and fragile material. Most fires are extinguished with water, either from overhead sprinklers, hose reels or fire trucks, which will further complicate an already difficult recovery operation.

The National Archives of Australia has a Disaster Preparedness Manual for Commonwealth Agencies that provides comprehensive information on recovery of records after a disaster – big or small.

Further advice

Contact the Agency Service Centre. Although we cannot generally offer direct assistance in the event of a disaster, we can give professional advice and direct you to suitable disaster recovery and conservation specialists, who can help recover and preserve the damaged records.

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