JIS News

Story Highlights

  • With a little more than four weeks remaining in the hurricane season, the Registrar General's Department (RGD) is reminding the public of the importance of proper records management in their homes and offices, in the event of a natural disaster.
  • As it is common for persons to lose important documents during natural disasters such as hurricanes and fires, Chief Executive Officer of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness told JIS News that persons should employ safety measures such as the use of plastic bags to protect important documents.
  • "If you can save one small package, then you should ensure that you have things such as your passport, land titles, certificates, investments and keep them all together," she cautioned.

With a little more than four weeks remaining in the hurricane season, the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) is reminding the public of the importance of proper records management in their homes and offices, in the event of a natural disaster.

As it is common for persons to lose important documents during natural disasters such as hurricanes and fires, Chief Executive Officer of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness told JIS News that persons should employ safety measures such as the use of plastic bags to protect important documents.

“If you can save one small package, then you should ensure that you have things such as your passport, land titles, certificates, investments and keep them all together,” she cautioned.

These items, she said, should be kept together in a safe place for easy access, as they may be required for quick use after a natural disaster.

Dr. Holness noted that items such as photographs, microfilm, audiotapes, videotapes, magnetic media, need special protection and persons should therefore secure these in polyester bags.

In the event that documents become water logged in a flood or hurricane, these should be packed immediately for air-drying.

“Larger volumes of wet paper records require some volume of vacuum drying, which is a method of drying water soaked documents by placing them in what is called a vacuum chamber and introducing warm, dry air,” she said.

“You can also vacuum freeze drying, which is a method of treating water soaked documents by freezing to prevent further damage from water,” she added.

For smaller quantities, wet paper records must be packed in appropriate carton boxes for drying, and elevated high above ground level.

The RGD acts as a repository for all birth, death and marriage records occurring in the island. It also keeps safe bills of sale, conveyances, wills and naturalization records.

The Agency has given the assurance that the over 124 million vital records it stores are still safe and intact following the passage of Hurricane Ivan.