As flood waters devastate towns in Queensland and Western Australia, the NFSA has prepared advice on how to save precious audiovisual material. Film and tape is very susceptible to damage from water, especially when contaminated with dirt and debris. Each type of object is affected in a slightly different way and requires a slightly different approach in preventing further damage. In all cases, the sooner you can start recovering the objects, the greater chance of minimising damage. The NFSA can assist by providing information on the best ways to salvage your flood damaged objects and give these precious objects the best chance of recovery.
The first step is to make sure that the object has actually been affected by the flood waters. Often the film can or tape box will provide enough protection to prevent the water actually touching the object. If the object is not touched then just protect it from further damage that is likely to be caused by the damp conditions such as mould.
A second step is to keep any identifying information with the object. There will probably be a stage at which some sort of prioritisation will be necessary and deciding which object to spend the time and money on will be tough enough without having to wonder which tape or film has the most important content.