Vt towns find flood-damaged records

State Archivist encourages record-keepers to have off-site digital backups

STOCKBRIDGE, VT | September 23, 2011

"We really need to check and see if there is a flood-proof vault door"

—Catherine Brown

Vermont towns hit by Hurricane Irene last month are now in the process of restoring wet land and vital records, officials say.

"We really need to check and see if there is a flood-proof vault door," Stockbridge Town Clerk Catherine Brown said.

Stockbridge and Moretown had to send out mass amounts of paper to be frozen and freeze-dried as vaults containing records were filled with as much as 5 1/2 feet of water, The Rutland Herald reported Thursday.

"We have been told that they should be restored. They should be back within about 30 days, but if they are really damaged, it is obviously going to take longer," Moretown Town Clerk Cherilyn Lamson said.

Andy Mikell, who works at Vermont Attorneys Title Corp., said he was considering the issues with paper format records.

"I foresaw a huge problem," Mikell said. "The absence of records would severely impact ownership of the property."

Vermont state archivist Greg Sanford said he hopes this illustrates to towns the importance of having off-site, digital backups.

"It may not have the same tactile history [as paper records]," Sanford said. "But it does have the same information."

Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

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