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Press Release: NAID advises companies on how to handle wet records

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PHOENIX, ARIZONA – The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) advised businesses in the path of Hurricane Sandy to consult with secure destruction companies about how to properly handle their wet or damaged documents. Every business has a legal responsibility to record and securely dispose of wet or partially destroyed paper records containing sensitive information.

As businesses are assessing their losses and recovery times, more often than not, paper records and electronic devices are among the items damaged by rain or flood water. The challenge is determining how and if wet paper records can be restored or disposed of properly. NAID member companies are equipped to recover and securely destroy those materials. Recently, NAID published two articles describing the deposition of wet records and what to do with moldy records.

”In the event wet paper records are old enough to discard, disposing of them in a secure and safe manner is still a struggle,” said NAID CEO Robert Johnson. “On the other hand, if the records have not reached their legal disposal date, there are still some basic steps that allow organizations to avoid problems due to their loss.”

In the first article, “Ask the Professionals: How do you dispose of wet records?” NAID consulted with legal experts about the retention limits, conditions of records and the regulatory requirements for paper records with water damage. One expert said when records cannot be salvaged and need to be destroyed, “create a complete inventory of the records along with documentation noting the condition of the records, the date of destruction and the name of the service destroying the records.” Whenever possible, a business should have full documentation of the circumstances and decision-making process in the event that issues arise later.

“Moldy records: Hype or hazard?” addresses the rare but potential problem of mold growing in records that were stored in damp locations or that were destroyed by flood waters. Mold poses a health risk to the business’ employees and customers as well as the document destruction company’s employees handling the records. Disaster recovery experts suggest wet, mold-laden records be handled with extreme caution. Therefore, NAID recommends finding a NAID member company that is familiar with the destruction of wet documents and what to do in the event that they are moldy.

According to Johnson, “The worst option is doing nothing. There are many potential problems leaving soaked records around to dry on their own.”

About NAID: NAID is a non-profit trade association of the secure destruction industry, currently representing over 1,900 member locations globally. NAID’s mission is to promote the proper destruction of discarded information and to encourage the outsourcing of destruction needs to qualified contractors.