Salvage of Electronic

Equipment and Documents


While there is nothing like a backup stored in a SOL (Secure Off-site Location) it may be possible to recover valuable electronic files and salvage some electronic devices after a disaster. Knowing what to do in advance might save a cell phone when you need it most. 

Like a Clockwurst Orange by Marilyn Murphy


 This section will explore topics such as whether water damage is truly fatal to your electronics, and how to get your data out of a damaged computer, phone, or other device; and what to do with your electronic items if they have sustained fire or smoke damage. There is also information on how to dispose of that equipment that is just not recoverable. It is important to follow proper disposal instructions for electronics since some components can contain lead or mercury.


This is the first step in the salvage of any electronic or electrical device. The sooner you do this, the better chance you have for recovery. If the device is wet or full of ash or soot particles, components may short out, destroying the device or causing shock or fire hazard.

We have made the contents of the e-Salvage Pocket ProtectorTM booklet from the Studio Protector® wall guide available as a pdf for you to use, print, and post in the studio. The booklet contains tips on preventing further damage to your art, assets, and archives; and saving what you can after an emergency.


Replace or Repair?

Generally, seriously-damaged electronic devices are cheaper to replace than to repair. However, in an emergency situation it may make sense to take the time to attempt to recover a wet or damaged communication device like a cell phone or radio.

  • Assess the importance of having use of the device as soon as possible. If the recovery attempt fails, the device may be damaged beyond repair.

  • Do not attempt recovery of AC-powered devices yourself - unless you are experienced and know how to work on this equipment safely. Electrical shock from damaged AC devices can injure or kill you.

  • Damaged battery-powered devices may still pose risk of overheating or fire. Test all devices outside, away from combustible materials.