Yes heat will do it, if you solder the leads to your diodes yourself be quick and just use a 30W iron.
You should have little problem with static charge, here in the Puget Sound area we live in a very humid environment so there's little static electricity. I don't even worry about it, but still I wouldn't walk around in polyester socks on the synthetic carpet just before building my laser. I have a cheap combo thermometer and humidity meter on the wall inside and out, right now it's about 78% humidity inside almost enough to rain inside :crackup: but I have 2 windows open right now. On a day when it's humid just opening a window will make it more humid and kill the static electricity, or if you own a humidifier it will do the same. You can also just buy an anti static mat and wrist strap and not worry about it at all.
Killed low powered diodes low cost messing around with pushing them too hard. Not sure how many but I'll guess 5-10. Keep in mind I have built far more units than most as far as someone who isnt building to sell. For example not too many people have 12 LPC-826 builds I would guess
I killed my first and only about a month or two ago. It was an NDB7875. I was much less upset about it(I expected one eventually) than I am about the U.S. Postal Service delivering my heatsink, battery contact boards, and another NDB7875 to the wrong house. A house that is nowhere near me. Lol.