Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stabilization and Recovery of Damaged Records



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Carrothers
Director of Media Relations
404-656-4269

August 19, 2010

Secretary of State Kemp Announces Contract to Assist with Vital Records Recovery Following Disasters

Atlanta – Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp today announced that his office has signed a contract that will assist state and local agencies, public libraries, and public and private universities by stabilizing and recovering vital documents in the event of disasters. The statewide contract for Stabilization and Recovery of Damaged Records was created in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services to protect documents and records including deeds, mortgages, court records, adoption records, marriage and birth records, and many others that Georgians depend on to protect their health, property, and civil rights.

“When a disaster strikes a courthouse or any building which stores our vital records, the consequences for Georgians can be catastrophic,” said Secretary Kemp. “This new contract will provide every state agency, local government, and public library with qualified vendors to recover damaged records after a fire, flood, or other disaster.”

According to David Carmicheal, director of the Secretary of State’s Archives Division, the first forty-eight hours after a disaster are critical.

Carmichael stated, “Most disasters create some sort of water damage, and during the first 48 hours mold can form on records, hard drives can rust, and book covers warp. This contract will ensure that a qualified recovery expert responds quickly so that essential records can be rescued.”

Vendors will be able to pack materials and remove them from the disaster area, freeze records to stop deterioration, and recover damaged paper, hard drives, photographs, and more. Records that have been damaged in a disaster are fragile and easily destroyed during the recovery. The new contract ensures that whoever does the recovery work has been prequalified by the state archives as competent to do the work.

In addition, the new contract ensures that recovery work will be done at prices that were established before the disaster. “A court clerk standing knee-deep in water doesn’t have time to negotiate the best price,” says Carmicheal. This contract sets the prices for recovery work and eliminates the prospect of prices rising as the result of a widespread disaster. It will protect the records of state agencies, local governments, public libraries, public and private universities, and some not-for-profit organizations.

For additional information, please visit the Secretary of State’s Archives Division at www.sos.ga.gov/archives or call 678-364-3700.

Brian Kemp was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2010. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.

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