Every year and at least twice, the Filing Room warehouses will fill with thick clouds of heavy, cloying smoke. It rises through the ceiling of our storage facility and streams into the outside air from our vents. Whenever this happens, and despite warnings we give to our neighbours, we always receive at least one alarm from a helpful bystander telling us that our facility is on fire.
That is, however, not the case.
Competing with the elements
Following the rainy season, Nairobi can become a very humid place. The hot and damp conditions of our capital city can be a nightmare for paper record storage.
Very often we are called to collect records from clients who can no longer archive their documents in-house because they have not got the facilities to handle the damp weather.
Damp Brings out the Dudus
The damp, however damaging it is to records themselves, brings another threat to paper records: insects.
The interaction between Kenya and its wildlife makes it one of the most unique and exciting countries to live in and do business. But it also brings with it certain challenges. Operating a records management company in the country means we must contend with the persistence of its dudus.
A variety of different insects are known to make their home in and around poorly maintained records. Beetles, weevils, mites and moths are the worst of them.
In their natural habitats, these insects live under bark or in animal nests. However, many of them feed on various fungi and moulds which thrive in damp places. As a result, they are often found in grain silos or warehouses where improper damp management is practiced.
These moulds and fungi also grow on paper. The damage that these dudus can do to records is substantial. Our job is to ensure that this damage never happens.
At The Filing Room, we can never be sure what conditions records are stored in before they come to our warehouses. On occasion, we have found that previous storage facilities have not contended with insects getting in and amongst their records.
Combating Damaging Insects
We always check the records that we collect from our clients. We look for damage to the records themselves as well as inspect for insect droppings. But you can never be too careful when it comes to securing your records from bugs.
As a result, we fumigate our warehouses often. Specialists, such as those at Rentokil Kenya, visit our premises every six months and fill every space with the thick smoke you see in these photographs.
The smoke eradicates all pests but does no damage to the important documents that we have stored on premises.
In this way, we ensure that all the records stored with us are safe from the damaging effects of Kenya’s dudus. This, along with our other safety and organisational measures – which you can read about in this article – is all part of a records management company’s commitment to making sure your contracts and receipts are safe for the long-term
Next time you hear about smoke coming from the Filing Room, rest assured. Your records aren’t on fire, and they are definitely not being eaten away by weevils either.