Preservation experts in Lumberton show how to salvage family treasures after flood

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – Preservation experts were in Lumberton on Monday with tips on how to restore photographs and sentimental objects damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Outreach Coordinator Adrienne Berney is a Hurricane Katrina survivor.

Berney knows how it feels to lose family treasures like pictures and other important documents.

“After evacuating that is a thing I was most sad about because you don’t want to lose your families memories,” said Berney.

On Monday Berney demonstrated how to handle, dry and clean damaged objects while sharing tips on personal safety, setting priorities and other preservation options.

“If you really want to look through your things and pick out what is most important to you and your family then you do have time,” Berney mentioned.

Berney says items like shoes, books, and picture frames can be cleaned after sitting in mold or dirty water.

“If the mold still has a wet or slimy texture then you don’t want to touch it. You want to get it in a situation where it can air dry and sometimes that means bringing it out in the shade is the best thing to get rid of that mold,” added Berney.

Losing such items can be devastating after disasters like Hurricane Matthew. But luckily many things can be salvaged with proper guidance.

“You do lose a lot when you have that type of damage so try to salvage what is really important to your family,” mentioned Berney.

Flood victims can learn more by visiting the North Carolina Emergency Management and FEMA Disaster Recovery Center on North Roberts Avenue in Lumberton.

After the Flood: Can You Save Important Documents and Photographs?

1st, prioritize your damaged belongings. Cleaning and air drying take a lot of space and time. Make sure you devote your resources to those objects that are especially important to you and your family.

2nd, many objects that have been in flood waters can be washed. Use damp rags for wood and paper; wash textiles and ceramics; wipe metals with isopropyl alcohol or ethanol.

3rd, mold will grow after 48 hours. Space items as much as possible and use fans to keep mold spores from settling. If mold does grow, try to air dry the object so that the mold becomes dry and dusty, rather than slimy. Protect yourself before working with mold. Use gloves and a disposable mask (n-95-100). Once mold has a dry texture, use a brush to direct the spores into a hepa-filtered vacuum, or brush the spores while working outside. Disposable micro fiber cloths are also useful for lifting dry spores from objects. Finally, swab the surface with a rag dampened with isopropyl alcohol to kill remaining mold.