Before Disaster Strikes

[Editor’s note: Diane Miller discusses proactively preserving family memories.]


The tragedy of a natural disaster surrounds us this summer in our community of friends and neighbors here in Fort Collins, Colorado. This morning I awoke at 1:00 a.m. to the smell of smoke from the nearby wildfire. I got up, turned off the outside fans and closed the windows. When I saw this morning’s paper, tears flowed as I read about 57 more homes being destroyed by the fire.

The last two weeks in Fort Collins have been like living next to a fierce campfire. Daily, smoke and ash cover the skies, our cars and our yards. I can clearly see plumes of smoke from my front door as they rise above the surrounding foothills. The flames—which at times have reached 200 feet into the air—have destroyed more than 250 homes and burned over 80,000 acres. A single home with a family’s memories burned to ash is difficult to imagine, let alone more than 250.

Wildfires, Hurricanes and Other Disasters

Besides the Fort Collins area, wildfires have been raging elsewhere in Colorado as well as in Utah, New Mexico and California. In addition to these fires, the hurricane season is barely under way in the Atlantic and there have already been four named storms—a record number for this early in the year. Flash floods, tornadoes and other disasters, both natural and man-made, are a common occurrence in areas of the U.S. and worldwide.

Proactively Preserve Your Family Memories

Instead of risking the loss of your family memories, what if you digitally archived them and stored them in several places? You could digitally backup your photos and documents on a thumb drive and store it in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box. You could digitized your photos and keep the originals in a safe place. You could even upload your digital images to the cloud via an online storage site.

A Backup Plan Using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and the Picture Keeper

As the family historian, I have devised a backup strategy for all of my valuable photos and documents. First I scan my original documents and photos with my Flip-Pal and store the scanned images on my computer’s hard drive. Then I plug the The Picture Keeper USB thumb drive into my computer’s USB port and it copies all of the scanned images onto the drive.

The Picture Keeper is an amazingly easy to use backup tool. The included software keeps track of previously copied images so that the next time you plug it into your computer it detects any new pictures you’ve scanned and copies them to the thumb drive!

I back up all my scans and photos to the Picture Keeper and then I put it in a safety deposit box at my bank. At the beginning of each month I get my Picture Keeper from my safety deposit box, plug it into my computer and backup any new scanned items.

Now is the Time to Create Your Back Up Plan!

Whatever your preferred method of digitally archiving your family memories—please make sure you regularly back them up and store them in a safe place.

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