Like most Americans, you collect photographs of your family members. Not only do these photos help you remember loved ones, but they also allow you to document your children’s growth. Whether you love to make scrapbooks or simply hang photos on your walls, it is impossible to overstate the value of your collection.
House fires are probably more common than you think. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more than 350,000 structure fires in the U.S. every single year. Roughly 26% of these involve family homes. Simply put, house fires and photographs do not mix.
Flames are the biggest threat to your family photographs, of course. After all, in just a few seconds, flames can eat through any type of photo. If you store your photos digitally, flames also can destroy your computer’s hard drive. Consequently, it is advisable to upload your photographs to an external server.
The fire does not have to touch your photos to destroy them, unfortunately. The excessive heat that is common in house fires is extremely destructive. Heat-related damage may range from minor discoloration to complete destruction.
Smoke is another threat to your family photographs. As a fire burns, it releases carbon and other byproducts into the air. Even photographs in comparatively unscathed parts of your home may have widespread smoke damage. While a restoration professional may be able to improve the appearance of these photos, smoke may cause some of them to be gone forever.
While you can replace many of your personal belongings after a house fire, you cannot go back in time and retake your treasured family photographs. Ultimately, seeking a comprehensive financial settlement may give you the money you need to save the salvageable ones.