When a homeowner or business suffers a disastrous property loss such as a fire, flood, or storm damage, the financial and emotional toll can be devastating. The family may be out of their home for an extended period and may have lost everything including keepsakes and family heirlooms that they cannot replace. A catastrophic business loss may put many people out of work. Work on critical projects may be destroyed, and clients may just take their business elsewhere due to time pressures.
Salvaging some of the electronic equipment may ease some of the loss, both financially and emotionally. There are two significant goals for electronic restoration. Data recovery (also known as content restoration), and equipment restoration. These two critical goals are often intertwined, but the accomplishment of each task is not necessarily interdependent.
The goal of most homeowners who have suffered a loss is often the recovery of digital memories, key documents, photos, and videos. Most of us do not give much thought to these items until a loss occurs. Imagine that you suffered a devastating house fire. Your family all got out safely, but your home is now a smoking soggy pile of tinder. Your children’s baby pictures, graduation photos, etc. were in frames all around the home. You felt safe because they were all scanned or downloaded onto your home computer or laptop as a backup. Since the originals were physically destroyed in the fire, your only hope to retrieve them is from your computer. Unfortunately, that is now covered in smoky residue and is soaking wet.
The same may be true of your videos. Your child’s first steps, treasured ballet recitals, and Christmas morning videos with astonished toddlers who are now all grown up now exist only on your trusty laptop. You were able to find your laptop after the blaze, but the case and screen both cracked. Then remember that your grandparents’ original naturalization papers and scanned copies of your father’s distinguished military documents were also on the hard drive.
You had intended to share these items with other family members but just didn’t seem to find the time. Now, they lost forever.
There is one resource that might be your best chance to recover these items from those damaged hard drives. After a significant loss from a flood, fire, or storm, many insurance carriers bring in a service to help clean up the mess. Dry or replace carpets, prevent the growth of mold and help you rebuild or restore your home or business. These companies experienced and excellent at handling these situations. The best companies also have an Electronic Restoration valet to assist them in saving your equipment and mining the critical data from your devices. While repairing the equipment may be technically possible, it does not always make economic sense for outdated equipment. You should also note that it is often possible to retrieve data from the hard drive of a computer without ever making the device operational.
For electronic restoration to be successful, certain steps must be followed:
- You must act quickly. The longer the equipment sits, the more difficult and less chance exists for success. Equipment that is subject to smoke or water will begin to dry out, and the circuit boards may start to rust or short out from the material that accumulated on those boards. As hard drives continue to be subject to exposure to water. Dust from fire extinguishers, and the elements, there is a greater chance the data contained therein will inaccessible.
- Determine what type of contamination occurred, whether water, chemical, smoke, fire extinguisher, etc.
- Decide how to restore the item, determine what methods and procedures are most likely to be successful.
- To the extent necessary and feasible, disassemble, and clean the components.
- Examine and test the components.
- Reassemble the unit.
- Retest the entire component to make sure it is in good working order and then put back into service.
On many occasions, it’s possible to save business or computer equipment by cleaning or replacing a few key components on the circuit boards. Complete recovery of electronic equipment is not always possible. But even partial success can save lots of time and money for businesses with specialized equipment. That is not only expensive but would take a significant amount of time to manufacture as it custom made for the company.
If you suffer one of these horrific losses, make sure that you discuss the use of an electronic restoration company with your insurance carrier immediately. If you are a restoration contractor working for an insurance company. Contact our Content Restoration Service Division to determine. If some of the electronic equipment on your next job can restore.