Niagara County has purchased a new building to house the counties records. The new structure replaces a building with water problems. The 28,000 sqft facility will lease the building for $124,600 per year. The facility will include the climate control required by New York State Law for document management. The storage facility will house all the county agency records including vital records.
As any records manager will attest, the biggest threat to the longevity of a paper document is water. It can be sneaky and destroy records silently. While fire is is more obvious threat it is not the biggest problem for most document storage facilities. Fire is more straight forward to include a fire suppression system. Water is quiet and sneaky and can seep in under walls or through concrete. If there are not inspections of all the boxes periodically it can soak up in the back of the room.What was dry my become the victim of a severe storm or a change in the flow of underground streams.
In some climates, it is just the humidity that will take decades off the lifespan of the paper. These require equipment that will remove the humidity in the facility. If not done then bacteria can grow and eat the paper. When the documents are retrieved they can fall apart in your hands.
Another threat the is not taken into account if temperature. When documents are left in self-storage units they are subject to dramatic temperature differences. This can also reduce the lifespan of paper. High temperatures promote the growth of mold and bacteria that attack the paper fibers. For this reason it is never recommended to store records in self-storage locations.
The last threat for many records is theft. Depending on your records they may be valuable for competitors or identity thieves. While you may miss dozens of boxes is would you miss a few files out of the middle of a box? For most people the answer is no. So make sure that the documents are kept in a secure area and limit access to only a few people. This will help protect you and your clients.