How To Archive Your Print Photos

How To Archive Your Printed Photos | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com. I don’t know about you, but the worst part about watching coverage of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and the California Wildfires, is the look on victim’s faces as they pick through the rubble of their homes, trying to find a keepsake.  Even a photo of their wedding or of their children, can mean the difference between being with or without their cherished memories.  What a horrible thing it would be to be left without the pictures you treasure the most, especially when keeping them safe and sound no matter what the disaster is so easy. 
Have you been through the family photo album lately? 
What shape are your pictures in?  Are they sparkling and colorful or faded and lifeless.  Have you taken the time to scan them so they’re backed up and secure or is the print you’re holding, the only one of its kind?
One thing that makes photos harder to archive than other keepsakes is the simple fact that we get so used to seeing our favorite photos hanging around the house, that we don’t always think to take them off the wall and scan them for safekeeping.  
The good news is that with the advent of portable wand scanners, you can see your favorite family photos any time you want.  The bad news is, you may have to peel them out of Aunt Sadie’s clutches to use it!  
But, not to worry.  We have some fabulous tips and tools that will give you access to all of your favorite pictures and get them easily and painlessly archived for all the members of your family, including dear Aunt Sadie.
As you know, there are two types of photos, digital and print.  In this post we’ll be dealing with prints – basically anything that is a physical photo, whether it’s in a frame, in an album or lurking in the back of a kitchen or desk drawer.  In order to archive those photos, you’ll need to scan them and get them into a digital format so that they can be put on a computer or portable hard drive.
In a few moments we’ll ask you to locate all of your physical photos.  Don’t forget to look for all your albums, photos in drawers or files and those hanging in frames on the walls or sitting on your bookshelf.   Then you’ll decide which of those photos you want to archive for safekeeping.  After that, we’ll get them scanned.
If you have a lot of photos around the house, you’ll probably need some help dealing with all of your pictures.  Why not declare one day “scanning day”.  Invite a bunch of good friends over to help, and if you have as much fun as we think you will, next time have them bring over their own photos to scan.  Do you have kids?  That’s even better – they’ll have a great time helping.

Take Action! 

1. Photos, Oh Photos…  Where Are You?

First, locate and gather all of your physical photos.
Don’t forget to look for all your albums, photos in drawers or files and those hanging in frames on the walls or sitting on your bookshelf.   Then you’ll decide which of those photos you want to archive for safekeeping.

2. Which Ones Do I Scan?

Although all of your photos are important, some mean more to you than others.  Separate your photos into two different piles.
In Pile  1, place photos that you want to copy and save in a digital format, for safekeeping.
In Pile  2, place photos that you:
•Already have in digital format and could easily recopy if the one you’re holding was harmed or destroyed.
•Have numerous  copies of in other locations.  Check to make sure that this is actually true, before you decide not to scan them.
•Simply don’t care enough about to keep it disaster safe.
You can go ahead and put the photos in the second pile back where you found them.

3. Scan Away!

Scan all of the photos in Pile 1 saving them to your computer, as you scan.  If you have a lot of photos, get the kids involved or throw a scanning party for your relatives, and let them help you scan, then give them a copy of the photos they want to take home with them.
If you already have digital photos on your computer, save these scanned photos to a new folder within your photos folder.  For example, ScannedPrintPhotos, so you’ll know at a glance which photos are the ones you scanned.

4. Make Sure You Back Up ALL Your Photos To At Least 3 Locations

Once you have finished scanning, copy that folder containing all of your photos — the digital ones and the ones you just scanned and save it with a different name, like Photo Archive Backup, with today’s date.   Place a copy of your backup folder in at least three different locations.  Here are a few suggestions of safe places to store them:
•On a flash drive or portable hard drive, and take them with you during evacuation on a key ring or in your plastic evacuation bin.
•On a flash drive or portable hard drive, in a safe deposit box or water/fireproof safe in your own city.
•On a flash drive or portable hard drive, in a safe deposit box, water/fireproof safe, or with relatives in the city where you’ll be evacuating.
•In a password-protected online file repository like OneDrive, iCloud or Dropbox, or on the file directory of your personal web site.  This way, you can retrieve them from any Internet-enabled computer.
•You can also save an extra copy of your photos on Flickr or another internet photo service.  But this really shouldn’t be your long-term solution or only solution, since you have no control over these sites and could lose all of your data without any warning.
•If you really want to keep photos on a secure site that you can share with your family, try iMemories.com.  Not only do they have great servers with outstanding redundant backup capability, but they can even put your photos on DVD for you, providing an extra layer of safety.
If you need more help scanning your photos — or if you have delicate or color challenged photos that need a bit more attention, here are a few tips.

How To Scan Your Photos

There are several great ways to scan your photos.  Just to clarify, a scanner is different than a copy machine, because a scanner makes an exact digital copy of a photo.  It’s a world of difference from a photo copy, which is usually pretty bad.  In many cases a scan of a photo is better than the original.  And the nice thing about them is that once you scan a photo, you can save it onto your computer, share it with family and friends or use photo software to correct faded color, repair damage or otherwise restore old photographs.
Most printers available now are three or four in one printers, that scan as well as print.  You can also scan your photos with a dedicated flatbed scanner (all it does is scan).
Or you can scan your photos with a portable wand scanner, as we mentioned earlier.  Portable wand scanners, like the VuPoint Magic Wand Scanner, have come a long way.  They run on batteries or are rechargeable and save anything you scan onto an SD card.  From there, you can download the scans/photos directly to your computer, via a USB cord, or you can pop the SD card out of the scanner and pop it into your computer to archive your scans.
The best part about having a portable wand scanner is that you can scan photos, documents, even things like marriage certificates or historical documents by swiping the scanner over it, instead of having to take all of those documents home and putting them, one at a time, through your scanner.  It’s especially good, like we said, for scanning photos at relative’s homes.  If they don’t want the photo leaving the house, just take the scanner over and scan the photos you want.   Amazingly, if you’re dealing with a fragile photo, you can even scan it right in the frame.  Or if you have delicate photos in a photo album – have you ever tried to peel photos out of an album without damaging them – you can simply open the book and sweep the scanner over the page.  Then all you have to do is open the scanned page and crop the photos apart, saving each one as a separate photo.  Photos archived, originals safeguarded!
One other method of scanning that we wanted to mention is the Kodak Personal Scanner.  It’s a bit different than the others, because you can feed photos into it and it scans them as they pass through an inch thick scanning bed.  The interesting part is that it comes with an attachment that feeds negatives and slides into the scanner and – are you ready for this – actually makes a digital copy of the photo, just as if you had taken it to the photo processor.  We actually had some slides that someone had given us, and since we never used slides, we didn’t have the equipment to look at them.  With the Kodak Scanner, all we did was feed the slide into the scanner and suddenly we had full color, beautiful photos from the sixties, that looked like they were processed yesterday.  Absolutely amazing!
If you don’t have access to a scanner, then have a relative or friend scan them for you.  Scanning is by far the cheapest and most effective way of safeguarding your important photos.  If you can’t get them scanned, go to a copy shop like Fed Ex-Kinko’s and have copies made of all your photos, using non-acid paper.  This will ensure that they will last longer and will fade less as they age.
Now that you know what you’re doing, scan all the loose prints that you want to preserve.  The higher the dpi the better the quality, so use 300 or 600 on your oldest, most treasured photos.  Then save the scans to your computer to back them up.
Once you have all of your photos or documents scanned and saved, look through and find any that are damaged, faded or yellowed and see if you can edit them to get them into better shape.  
A lot of people run right for their favorite photo software programs — like Adobe Photoshop Elements. Adobe is definitely one of the best and we’ve used it on our own photos with great results. But the problem is, there are so many tools within it to fix your photos, that it can be a little difficult, not to mention daunting, to use.   One day, Mom and I had had it, trying to get the results we wanted on some of our pictures that needed a lot of color correction.  So we began to look for a way to get the correction we wanted in the same few steps (and I mean FEW), whether the pictures were simply faded or way out of whack.
I’m happy to say we found it.  Or rather created it!  We found five steps that work to color correct nearly any photo of any age, using Photoshop Elements and put them into our book Photo Finish.  It’s downloadable for a limited time.  Below is one of the photos that we edited using those five steps. That’s me at Disneyland when I was about four.  If you have a lot of pictures from the fifties to the eighties that have turned strange shades, download a free copy of our book.  
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If you don’t have the time, energy or inclination to fix your photos yourself, we’ve found one scanner that stands out among all the others in the marketplace, for color correction. It’s the Epson Perfection line of scanners, with Epson’s Easy Photo Fix software.   Do you have any of those photos from the seventies and eighties that ended up a muddled brown-orange mess?   All you have to do is use the Auto Fix setting on the scanner and then scan your seventies photos.  The scanner corrects the color while it scans.  Truly amazing!  
If you’d like a copy of the instructions in this post, click here to download the PDF Version to your computer.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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How To Save Your Home Movies And Videos
How To Archive Your Digital Photos
How To Archive Your Print Photos
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How To Get Your Financial Life In Order
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Keep The People You Love Safe

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How To Create A Family Evacuation Plan
How To Fill Out Your Child’s Emergency Contact Card

How To Set Up Your ICE Contacts

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How To Choose An Evacuation Location

How To Choose An Evacuation Location

The day after the Nepal Earthquake, the Joplin Tornadoes and Superstorm Sandy millions of people woke up to the reality of having to evacuate their homes and businesses.  The only good thing about Sandy being a hurricane and not an earthquake, was that residents had a few days to figure out where to go and what to do, when they received the order to evacuate.
But as anyone watching even five minutes of either the earthquake, tornado or hurricane coverage quickly realized, thousands of the people who were told to evacuate, stayed right where they were.  Others evacuated not because they had a plan of where to go and what to do, but because they had no other choice.   They’re currently sitting in a shelter or in a friend’s spare room, with absolutely no idea what they’re going to do next.
What about you?  If that was your neighborhood and your family, and the firefighter knocked on YOUR door, where would you go?   Why are we asking this question? 
Because you have to know where you’re going , before you can get there!  
Here’s how to do it quickly and easily.

How To Choose An Evacuation Location | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com

1. Choose three different locations , because that will give you and your family a variety of choices that will keep you safe, no matter what circumstances you might face. 
  • One location should be near your neighborhood, to be used in an emergency that only impacts your home.
  • One location should be out of your immediate area but in the same state .  This is for a regional emergency.
  • One location should be out of state, for situations  with widespread danger, like a wildfire or an earthquake.
2.  How To Choose A Great Location
Before you zero in on  the perfect location, come up with as many different locations as you can that you and your family can use for evacuation. 
As you consider each location, think about:
  • The needs of the people traveling with you
  • How you’ll get there (car, bus, plane)
  • Any pets that will be traveling with you
3. Do Your Locations Have What You Need?
Once you’re certain you have the right places, consider whether each location will actually work for you and your family.  
For instance if would need to stay in that location for two or three weeks, would it have everything that you and your family would need?  
Would it be close enough to the stores or services your family might need, like pharmacies, clothing, banks and doctors? 
Would you be able to get to work from that location, or are you able to work from home? 
Does it have the furniture and supplies you would need to sustain you for two or three weeks?
4. We Have A Winner!  Make That Three Winners
No location is perfect, so if you came up with one or two things your location would be lacking, be sure to note that on your Family Evacuation Plan, so that you can take care of it before you  get there.  
Speaking of your plan, once you have your locations set, grab a copy of our Family Evacuation Plan, or if you have our book Get Your Stuff Together, you’ll find a copy in the back of the book.   It will take you through a couple of quick steps  to help you create a complete evacuation plan for your family.
5. Making Your Plan Accessible
Print, scan or make three copies of the Evacuation Plan, and store it in at least three secure, damage-proof locations.   That way if one or two of the locations are inaccessible, you’ll still be able to grab the information you need. 
And  store a copy in your cell phone as well, in case an emergency occurs while you’re away from home.
Want to download a copy of these instructions?  Click here and save the PDF version to your computer.
Here is the link to part two of this series, How To Create Your Family Evacuation Plan.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…
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More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your Smartphone
How To Create Your Family’s Evacuation Plan
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The Book Inspired By The Blog. The Backup Plan 3.0

The Backup Plan 3.0 | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep everything that’s important to you, safe, sound and accessible. rnn10.wordpress.com

The Backup Plan 3.0, is filled with quick, easy, 5 minute steps you can take right now, to get everything that’s important to you organized, safe, sound and accessible.  Each section covers a different area, from backing up and fixing family photos, home movies and music, to vital documents, medical and financial information and even getting your digital life in order.  This special Bonus Edition includes 7 downloadable Bonus Books.  Paperback Edition $24.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $8.00  Buy Now       Read more about it

How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep your photos, videos and music, safe, sound and accessible. www.getyourstufftogether.com

I don’t know about you, but the most important keepsakes in our house are our old family photos, followed closely by our home movies and music.  The problem is, grabbing piles of photo albums and all of the picture frames off the walls is hard to do if you have to get out of the house quickly. With How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music, you’ll learn quick, easy steps to back up your print/digital photos, home movies, cassettes, vinyl albums and archive them in multiple, disaster proof locations.     $12.95   Buy now at Amazon.com    Read more about it

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How To Get Ready For A Tsunami

How To Get Ready For A Tsunami | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com

How To Get Ready For A Tsunami

There once was a man who was so afraid of earthquakes that he did everything he possibly could to prepare for one.  He had water, food, and first aid kits lining the walls of his ocean front home.  He had his bookcases and cabinets bolted to the wall.  Everyone in his home knew where to run and where to hide when “the big one” eventually hit.
Then one morning the big one came.  He and his family ran into the spots they had practiced, into doorways, under the heavy tables.  It seemed like an eternity before the rumbling stopped.  Everyone just looked at each other, scared but smiling.  They’d done it!  They were okay.  They had food, they had shelter – this wasn’t so bad.
The man rushed to the door followed by his family.  The sun was shining, and they were thrilled to be alive.  Then one of the kids heard a strange roar.  Seconds later they could all hear it.  And then they saw it.  A ten-foot wave was headed right at them.  They ran up the street, up the hill as fast as they could.  They made it to the top just in time to watch the water swallow up their neighborhood, their home and with it, all their supplies.  The man looked at his wife and said,  “That was strange.  I never saw it coming.”
The moral of the story?  Just because you’re ready for what you think might happen, it doesn’t mean you’re ready for something you would never expect in a million years.    Tsunamis are exactly that type of event — especially if you live in the western United States or anywhere in the Pacific Ring Of Fire.  In other words earthquake country.

So what’s the best way to prepare for a tsunami?

Next to earthquakes, tsunamis are probably the second most difficult type of disaster to prepare for, because you usually don’t get a lot of warning when one is about to strike.  Since tsunamis are usually set off by earthquakes, the earthquake itself provides the warning that a tsunami might be imminent.  But that’s only if the tsunami strikes the same area as the original earthquake.  In Japan for example, the earthquake struck and the tsunami followed later.  In other instances, an earthquake struck one area of the world while the tsunami went the other direction striking people who never felt the earthquake.   And when they do strike, they usually hit so quickly and with so much force (like the tsunami in Thailand) that people in it’s wake have no time to do anything but run for their lives.
Even though some countries have tsunami warning systems in place, they still aren’t that reliable.  So the best way to prepare your important documents, files, information and keepsakes for a tsunami is to make sure that your earthquake preparation is up to date.   We have a great blog post on preparing for an earthquake at this link.   Make sure you check this one out as well, How to Earthquake Proof Your Bedroom.
Besides knowing where your tsunami evacuation routes are and how to use them, the most important part of preparing for a tsunami is having everything you need for an evacuation:

At your fingertips

or Already in your evacuation location

Which is exactly what the family of Katsutaro Hamada wishes he would have done.  This heartbreaking story came out of the 2011 Japan Earthquake:  “With each passing day, more and more poignant stories of survivors and victims are emerging.  Immediately after the quake, Katsutaro Hamada, 79, fled to safety with his wife. But then he went back home to retrieve a photo album of his granddaughter, 14-year-old Saori, and grandson, 10-year-old Hikaru. Just then the tsunami came and swept away his home. Rescuers found Hamada’s body, crushed by the first floor bathroom walls. He was holding the album to his chest, Kyodo news agency reported.  ‘He really loved the grandchildren. But it is stupid,’ said his son, Hironobu Hamada.”
The saddest part of this story is that it was completely avoidable.  If Mr. Hamada or his family had simply scanned those photos and left copies with a relative in Tokyo or uploaded them onto a flash drive, or onto Dropbox or an online photo sharing site, they would have had their photos and Hamada would have had the rest of his life to enjoy them.
So how do we prepare for tsunamis?  As we tell our clients, we always follow the…

Three Step Approach.

The First Step, is to make sure that you have your earthquake survival gear and know how to secure your home and personal safety when an earthquake or tsunami strikes.
The Second Step, is to make sure that you’re able to grab everything you need – necessities, keepsakes, vital information – and leave for a safer location, in less than ten minutes. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. All you need is to do is to take the necessary steps now, to ensure you have access to all the items and information that will help you get back to living your normal life, as quickly and easily as possible.  You’ll also want to make sure that the things that are most vital to you — your important papers, financial and insurance information, treasured photos, videos and music and scannable keepsakes are backed up onto a portable hard drive and stored in a safe deposit box or safe, in the town where you will go during evacuation.   That way it will be safe, sound and waiting for you when you arrive.
The Third Step is to make sure that you have a pre-written plan of what you’ll do and where you’ll go when a disaster strikes, including a plan for how you’ll get back to your normal life, once the disaster is over.
If you live in an area where a tsunami might strike, you absolutely need an Evacuation Plan and a Get Back To Life Plan.  If you don’t know the tsunami evacuation routes in your area, call your local fire department for this information immediately and do one or two trial runs finding and using the evacuation route to ensure that you know where you’re going, without a wall of water in close pursuit.  And while you’re at it, make sure you also ask them where the emergency shelters are in your area in case  you suddenly need one.  You always need to know where you’re going and what you and your family would do if your area becomes uninhabitable.   If necessary make a plan with other relatives or neighbors to evacuate together and share transportation and costs.
Even if your home is safe from rising flood waters and away from the areas predicted to feel the heaviest impact of the storm, your neighborhood and city might still without power or basic city services for a few days — or a few weeks.  Just as survivors of Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Katrina!  Telephone and/or cell service may also be down.   Not only does that mean you won’t have light, but you also won’t have power for computers or televisions and radios. Grocery and drug stores won’t be able to ring up purchases, ATMs won’t work, garage door openers might not function. Name any tool or convenience we rely on in this world and chances are it’s powered by electricity.
We aren’t going to get into the details of how to turn off your gas, when to boil water or a list of items to have on hand for an earthquake, because there are literally hundreds of sources for that information.  In fact here are a few of our favorite guides and videos:
Tsunami Guide/Checklist    Tsunami Preparedness from NOAA    
You should also create or update your evacuation checklist, detailing the items that you and your family would need if you were unable to live in your home for three or more days. This includes all of your necessities, prescriptions, vital documents (or access to them on portable hard drives, online or in out of area safe deposit boxes), keepsakes, personal and professional contacts, ID and basic medical history and anything else that your family will need while evacuated.
We want you to think about something.
Think about the coverage of the last few tsunamis and earthquakes you saw on CNN.  Remember the faces of the people in the midst of the quake zone or the eye of the storm?
They looked shell-shocked, terrified, lost. Most of those people, were at least moderately prepared for a disaster. Those in earthquake country most likely had stockpiled some food and water, those in hurricane country might even have evacuated and done everything their local news and emergency authorities told them to do. And yet, after the disaster, they were standing there, scared and helpless, because their homes, the people they loved, and basically their entire lives have been destroyed to the point that their own existence was now unrecognizable. All of those people, rich and poor, young and old — they all had one thing in common. They had NO idea where to go and what to do from here.   That’s exactly what happened to families in Japan after their earthquake and tsunami.  If you’d like to read more about that, take a look at Living In A Cardboard House.
And THAT – knowing what to do and where to go after the disaster, is step three.   The most important step of all.
Facing a disaster without giving yourself a plan to recover from it, is like trying to build a house with no blueprint and no tools!
Having two plans can make all the difference in getting you through those first few days and weeks after a disaster strikes.
What are the plans?  They are the Family Evacuation Plan and the Get Back To Life Plan — the same plans that we’ve built into our newest book slash program, Ready
The evacuation plan starts with one question.  If you were at home or at work and suddenly had to evacuate your home, or your general area, where would you go?
As you think about the locations you’ll use for your evacuation, consider, the people traveling with you, how you’ll get there (car, bus, plane), any pets traveling with you and whether those locations will actually work for you – for instance are they close to stores or services your family might need, like pharmacies, clothing, banks and doctors.
We suggest that people have three different locations in mind, to give you different types of locations and choices depending on the circumstances. As you create your plan, write everything down in detail. If you have to use this plan, you and the people you love are probably going to be in panic mode and following an easy to understand plan, will help calm and focus you.
Write down the people who will be traveling with you, and any special instructions you’ll need to gather everyone together, in case a disaster or emergency occurs while you’re all away from home. Name the location that you and your family will use to meet up with each other and the location you will be evacuating to, if you cannot live in your home, but your immediate area is still safe. Include the address of the location, contact phone, email address and directions.
Next choose a location (writing down the details, address and contact information) that your family will use if you not only need to evacuate your home, but your immediate area or city. This might happen during a moderate hurricane or a tornado. Your third location is out of state, for a serious, widely destructive emergency like the Japan or Chile Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the Colorado Wildfires, or other disaster that will make your entire region uninhabitable.
You will also include these locations on your emergency wallet card and your family’s wallet cards. Now, no matter what the disaster, even a fire or local emergency, you and your family will now know where and how to gather, and who will be responsible for what, so you can quickly reunite and travel on to your emergency location together. If you like, you can also give a card to the person you chose to be your out-of-area contact as well.
Will you have any pets traveling with you? Be sure to fill out the pet section, so that you will have all the information you need for them, like the name and numbers for the veterinarian, their licenses, and names/numbers of kennels in the location you are evacuating to and any prescriptions or special instructions you’ll need until you return home.

Your Get Back To Life Plan

The worst part of any disaster, short of losing a loved one, is the possibility that the home you love and care for and everything in it would be damaged beyond repair. That is what your Get Back To Life Plan is all about.
Imagine that you and your family have survived a tsunami, but had to leave your area because it is uninhabitable.
You’re in your evacuation location two days after the flood. The phone rings. It’s a good friend of yours, who has just toured your neighborhood and is calling to tell you that your home is badly damaged and he doubts that you will be able to live in it for several months, if ever again.
After you and your family hold each other for a while and talk, you finally feel strong enough to open your Backup Plan Notebook. There you find your Get Back To Life Plan and begin making calls to your insurance agent, your contractor and your boss. You call the local real estate agent in your evacuation city and ask her to begin looking for temporary housing, register your children in the local school, and begin calling the contacts you need (that you jotted down just in case), to help you settle in. Getting settled is easier than you thought, since you have copies of all of the vital documents you need, like your birth certificates and property deeds in a safe deposit box at the local bank. It takes some time, but with hard work and a lot of courage, you and your family are back to living in a matter of weeks.
Now imagine the same scenario, the same phone call, holding your family, talking and then realizing that you have no plan and no clue how to get back to living your life. It’s CNN coverage all over again. The best part of this little scenario is that it hasn’t happened to you and that you have time right now, to make sure no matter what ever occurs in your area, you and your family will be prepared.
If you don’t have a copy of our Get Back To Life Plan yet, just download it here.  
Take a few minutes to think about the following questions:
  • How will we handle our bank accounts, paying our monthly bills and receiving our paychecks? How much emergency cash do we  need to have, while traveling?
  • What are our credit card limits and toll free numbers for emergency increases?
  • How will we work? Will we work remotely or have to look for new positions? What people or contacts can we call about temporary or permanent jobs?
  • How will we handle our medical, dental and prescription needs while in the new location? What doctors and dentists can we use while there?
  • How long can we stay in our evacuation location?      If we need to remain evacuated longer, where will we go/stay? Who will our real estate contacts be, if we need to find new permanent or temporary housing?
  • How are we going to secure the property or vehicles we had to leave behind?
  • How will we take care of our pets, during the evacuation and until we find new permanent housing?
  • How will we handle our transportation needs? What contacts will we need to purchase or lease vehicles?
  • How will we handle our daycare needs? How will we handle getting our children into school if necessary? What schools or contacts will we need, to enroll them in a new school in a temporary or new location?
  • How will we handle any special needs in our family?
Once you’ve answered the questions, get your family together to work out any potential problems you have uncovered and then draft your plan. And don’t forget to compile a list of real estate agents, financial contacts and jobs, schools, doctors and other professionals or information that you might need to establish yourself in the new city temporarily or permanently.
Starting over is never easy, especially when it happens because of a disaster or other life changing emergency. But taking a few hours now to think through and draft a plan, will give you and your family the direction, information and support that you need, to get through not only the first hours and days after a disaster, but the first steps back to living the life you’ve worked so hard to build.

Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…

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Keep The Stuff You Love Safe

How To Save Your Treasured Voice Mail Messages
How To Save Your Home Movies And Videos
How To Archive Your Digital Photos
How To Archive Your Print Photos
How To Make A Home Inventory
How To Get Your Financial Life In Order
How To Preserve Your Family History
How To Back Up Your Facebook Friends List
Turn Your Smartphone Into A Mobile Command Center
How To Backup Your Music, MP3s And Vinyl Albums
How To Access Your Money No Matter Where You Are

Keep The People You Love Safe

How To Keep Your Medical History At Your Fingertips
How To Create A Family Evacuation Plan
How To Fill Out Your Child’s Emergency Contact Card

How To Set Up Your ICE Contacts

How To Set Up Your ICE Contacts

How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your iPhone
How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your Samsung Galaxy Phone
How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your Android Smartphone
How To Put An ICE Contact & Medical ID On Your Apple Watch
How To Set Up Your Medical ID & ICE Contact On The iPhone
How to put an ICE Contact on your Samsung Galaxy Lock Screen
Can I Put An ICE Contact On A Password Protected iPhone?
How To Find Your Patient’s Medical Information & ICE Contacts On An iPhone.
Cómo Colocar Un En Caso de Contacto de Emergencia En Su Teléfono Celular
Why Are ICE Contacts So Important?
Create An ICE Contact In 2 Minutes
The Two Things You should NEVER put in your ICE Contact
Don’t Carry A Wallet? Here are 20 Places To Put Your Emergency Wallet Card

How To Get Ready For…

How To Earthquake Proof Your Bedroom
How To Get Ready For A Tornado
How To Get Ready For A Tsunami
The Best Apps For Tornado Season
How To Get Ready For A Hurricane
How To Get Ready For A Wildfire
How to Get Ready For A Flood
How To Get Ready For An Earthquake

How To Create A Get Back To Life Plan

How To Create A Get Back To Life Plan

How To Create A Get Back To Life Plan | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com

Courtesy of KRDO, Waldo Fire

Imagine that you and your family are sitting around the house one summer afternoon just enjoying each other’s company, when a wildfire suddenly breaks out just a few blocks from your home.    Depending on where you live, it could be a hurricane or a tornado, but let’s just call it a wildfire.  A firefighter knocks on the door and tells you that you have to evacuate.  Thankfully you know exactly what to do.  You print a copy of your Family Emergency Plan,  you all pile into the car with everything you need and drive directly to your evacuation location.  
Two days later — one of two things happen…
Scenario One 
Two days after the wildfire subsides, you and your family are in your evacuation location. The phone rings.  It’s a friend of yours calling to tell you that your home is badly damaged, and doubts that you will be able to live in it for at least two months if not longer. After you and your family get past the initial shock, you finally feel strong enough to open your Backup Plan Notebook.  There you find your Get Back To Life Plan and begin making calls to your insurance agent, your contractor and your boss. You call the local real estate agent in your evacuation city and ask her to begin looking for temporary housing, register your children in the local school and begin calling the contacts on your list that you’ve chosen to help you settle in.  
Getting settled is easier than you thought since you have copies of all of the vital documents you need, like your birth certificates and property deeds in a safe deposit box at the local branch of your bank. With a little hard work and a lot of courage, you and your family are back to living a normal life in a matter of weeks. 
Scenario Two   
Two days after the fire subsides, you and your family are staying in a relative’s spare room two counties over. The phone rings.  It’s that friend of yours calling to tell you that your home is badly damaged, and doubts that you will be able to live in it for at least two months if not longer. After you and your family get past the initial shock, you realize that you have no idea what you’re going to do.  
Same scenario, same challenges, one difference.  
One path comes with a plan for finding your way back.  
Facing a disaster – even a small one without giving yourself a plan to recover from it is like trying to build a house with no blueprint and no tools!  
It’s exactly what’s facing the survivors of the Nepal earthquake and what those who experienced the Fukushima & Haiti earthquakes, the Norman Oklahoma, Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes and the Colorado wildfires are still dealing with.
How To Create A Get Back To Life Plan | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com

Click picture to download instructions

Let’s make sure Scenario Two doesn’t happen to you and your family.  In the last blog post, you created a plan to get you to your desired evacuation location.  But once you’re there, you’ll need to know what you’ll need and how things will function over the next three days, three weeks, or worst case scenario, three months.  Let’s see how prepared you would be to actually live in that location, until you can go back home.
Download a copy of our Get Back To Life Plan, or if you have our book The Backup Plan 3.0, you’ll find a copy in the back of the book.  Go over the questions below and once you’ve gotten a feel for the exercise, go ahead and complete the plan.
1.  Does the place we’re evacuating to have all the furniture and supplies we will need for up to one month?
2. What type of clothing would we need?
3. Can we store any basic supplies there before they’re needed, or do we need to purchase supplies when we arrive?
4. How will we handle our bank accounts, paying our monthly bills?  How much emergency cash do we need to have while traveling? What are our credit card limits and toll free numbers for emergency increases?
5. How will we work?  Will I be able to receive my paycheck in that location?  Will we work remotely or have to look for new positions?  What people or contacts can we call about temporary or permanent jobs?
6. How will we handle our medical, dental and prescription medicine needs while in the new location?  Can we get referrals to doctors and dentists that we can use, if need be, when we get there?
7. How long can we stay in our evacuation location?  If the evacuation lasts longer than we think, where will we go/stay?  Do we have real estate contacts if we need to find new permanent or temporary housing?
8. How will we secure the property or vehicles we have to leave behind?
9. How will we take care of our pets during the evacuation and until we find new permanent housing?
10. How will we handle our transportation needs?  What contacts will we need to purchase or lease vehicles?
11. How will we handle our daycare needs?  How will we handle getting our children into school if it becomes necessary?  What documents will we need to enroll them in a new school in a temporary or new location?
12.  How will we handle any special needs in our family?  How will we handle any potential problems we have identified?
Once you have you’ve answered the questions, complete your Get Back To Life Plan.   Once you’re finished, print, scan or make three copies of the Plan, and store it in at least three secure, damage-proof locations.   And while you’re at it, store a copy in your cell phone as well, in case an emergency occurs while you’re away from home.
Want to download these instructions for later?  Click Here to download the PDF version.

Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…

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Buy Paperback Edition $24.99         Buy Downloadable Edition $8.00
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your Smartphone
How To Create Your Family’s Evacuation Plan
How To Download and Back Up Your Digital Photos

Learn how to put an ICE Contact on every type of smartphone in just minutes with The ICE My Phone Kit! Paperback Edition $14.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $5.00 Buy Now  Read more about it
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The Book Inspired By The Blog. The Backup Plan 3.0

The Backup Plan 3.0 | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep everything that’s important to you, safe, sound and accessible. rnn10.wordpress.com

The Backup Plan 3.0, is filled with quick, easy, 5 minute steps you can take right now, to get everything that’s important to you organized, safe, sound and accessible.  Each section covers a different area, from backing up and fixing family photos, home movies and music, to vital documents, medical and financial information and even getting your digital life in order.  This special Bonus Edition includes 7 downloadable Bonus Books.  Paperback Edition $24.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $8.00  Buy Now       Read more about it

How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep your photos, videos and music, safe, sound and accessible. www.getyourstufftogether.com

I don’t know about you, but the most important keepsakes in our house are our old family photos, followed closely by our home movies and music.  The problem is, grabbing piles of photo albums and all of the picture frames off the walls is hard to do if you have to get out of the house quickly. With How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music, you’ll learn quick, easy steps to back up your print/digital photos, home movies, cassettes, vinyl albums and archive them in multiple, disaster proof locations.     $12.95   Buy now at Amazon.com    Read more about it

Raise Money & Save Lives!  Free Customized Editions of our books make a great fundraiser for your organization, companyor an extra stream of income for you.  

Your Business Continuity Plan May Be Missing Something…  Like your employees, for instance?  If your city is struck by a tornado, earthquake or other disaster, it isn’t just your company that will be affected – so will your employees.  That’s why you need to make sure they’re as prepared for an emergency as YOU are.  Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.  Read More About It

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Getting Your Family Ready For An Earthquake

Getting Your Family Ready For An Earthquake | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com. As longtime residents of Southern California, we know how difficult it can be to spend the days and weeks after a quake, living in earthquake mode. The phenomenon isn’t really something you can explain to someone who hasn’t experience it personally.  New Californians are always asking how they’ll know if what they feel is a quake, or just an especially loud garbage truck. There’s only one answer to that question.   You’ll know!
And sure enough when it happens, they’ll say, “you were absolutely right!”   An earthquake combines two things that most humans hate– the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Feeling like the floor is going to crack open and swallow you, while listening to your house, cracking and groaning, while glass, bricks and your best china crashing to the ground around you, is a horrible sensation.
So what’s the best way to prepare for an earthquake?
Earthquakes are probably the most difficult type of disaster to prepare for, for two reasons. First, there is absolutely no warning when one is going to strike. Second, you never know how or where it’s going to strike. Two earthquakes of the same magnitude aren’t necessarily going to have the same destructive capability. A shallow 5.0 quake, can potentially create more damages and injury than a 7.0 quake centered deep within the earth. Shallow earthquakes mean more shaking and more cracks and fissures in the earth, which in turn damages more buildings, streets and injures more people. You also have to factor in how close the earthquake is to your home and where your home is located. We once experienced a 1.5 quake that was centered very close to our home and knocked books off the shelves – while a 6.4 earthquake 30 or 40 miles away got us out of bed, but left our possessions exactly where they were the night before.
In earthquake country “location, location, location” couldn’t be more true. Remember the parable of the man who built his house on the sand versus the man who built his on the rock? Those guys definitely lived in earthquake country! It’s called liquefaction. Especially in California, in areas where there are high concentrations of sand in the soil – aka high priced beach communities – the violent shaking of an earthquake causes water underground to rise up through the sandy soil, turning pseudo solid earth beneath homes to turn into liquid, swallowing anything above it – houses, stores, freeway on ramps. Making sure that your home is built on rock solid ground is a great first step to long term earthquake safety.
The final reason that earthquakes are so hard to prepare for, is that they tend to happen very early in the morning. Imagine being shaken out of a sound sleep, only to realize that your bed, your walls and your floor are all moving in opposite directions, while you try and remember the first item on your disaster checklist!   Not going to happen!   In fact that’s the reason we wrote our blog post, How to Earthquake Proof Your Bedroom.
So how do we prepare for earthquakes?  As we tell our readers, we always follow the Three Step Approach.
The First Step, is to make sure that you have your earthquake survival gear and know how to secure your home and personal safety when an earthquake strikes.
The Second Step, is to make sure that you’re able to grab everything you need – necessities, keepsakes, vital information – and leave for a safer location, in less than ten minutes. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. All you need is to do is to take the necessary steps now, to ensure you have access to all the items and information that will help you get back to living your normal life, as quickly and easily as possible.  You’ll also want to make sure that the things that are most vital to you — your important papers, financial and insurance information, treasured photos, videos and music and scannable keepsakes are backed up onto a portable hard drive and stored in a safe deposit box or safe, in the town where you will go during evacuation.   That way it will be safe, sound and waiting for you when you arrive.
The Third Step is to make sure that you have a pre-written plan of what you’ll do and where you’ll go when a disaster strikes, including a plan for how you’ll get back to your normal life, once the disaster is over.
The best way to physically prepare for earthquakes, is to think through the different scenarios that could take place. If a quake is large enough to have to “deal with,” chances are the electricity is going to go out. Telephone and/or cell service could also be down. In Japan, Haiti and Calexico, power lines fell, plunging the city into darkness. That means not only means you won’t have light, but you also won’t have power for computers or televisions and radios. Grocery and drug stores won’t be able to ring up purchases, ATMs won’t work, garage door openers might not function. Name any tool or convenience we rely on in this world and chances are it’s powered by electricity.
So your first defense is making sure that you always have an alternative source of power, battery powered flashlights, extra cash, a supply of canned or frozen food that doesn’t need to be cooked to be eaten, and the all-important supply of water – enough to last you and everyone in your family for three days. Since your home or neighborhood might have significant damage, keep rubber-soled shoes, a warm jacket and other emergency gear within reach of your bed or right inside your closet.  Rubber soled shoes will protect your feet from the broken glass and rocks that will probably be strewn everywhere.
We aren’t going to get into the details of how to turn off your gas, when to boil water or a list of items to have on hand for an earthquake, because there are literally hundreds of sources for that information.  In fact here are a few of our favorite guides:
Earthquake Guide    Earthquake Checklist
You should also create or update your evacuation checklist, detailing the items that you and your family would need if you were unable to live in your home for three or more days. This includes all of your necessities, prescriptions, vital documents (or access to them on portable hard drives, online or in out of area safe deposit boxes), keepsakes, personal and professional contacts, ID and basic medical history and anything else that your family will need while evacuated.
We want you to think about something.
Think about the coverage of the last few earthquakes or hurricanes you saw on CNN.  Remember the faces of the people in the midst of the quake zone or the eye of the storm?
They looked shell-shocked, terrified, lost.   Most of those people, were at least moderately prepared for a disaster. Those in earthquake country most likely had stockpiled some food and water, those in hurricane country might even have evacuated and done everything their local news and emergency authorities told them to do. And yet, after the disaster, they were standing there, scared and helpless, because their homes, the people they loved, and basically their entire lives have been destroyed to the point that their own existence was now unrecognizable. All of those people, rich and poor, young and old — they all had one thing in common. They had NO idea where to go and what to do from here.   That’s exactly what happened to families in Japan after their earthquake.  If you’d like to read more about that, take a look at Living In A Cardboard House.
And THAT – knowing what to do and where to go after the disaster, is step three.   The most important step of all.

 

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Facing a disaster without giving yourself a plan to recover from it, is like trying to build a house with no blueprint and no tools!
Having two plans can make all the difference in getting you through those first few days and weeks after a disaster strikes.
What are the plans?  They are the Family Evacuation Plan and the Get Back To Life Plan — the same plans that we’ve built into our newest book slash program The Backup Plan 3.0.  
The evacuation plan starts with one question.  If you were at home or at work and suddenly had to evacuate your home, or your general area, where would you go?
As you think about the locations you’ll use for your evacuation, consider, the people traveling with you, how you’ll get there (car, bus, plane), any pets traveling with you and whether those locations will actually work for you – for instance are they close to stores or services your family might need, like pharmacies, clothing, banks and doctors.
We suggest that people have three different locations in mind, to give you different types of locations and choices depending on the circumstances. As you create your plan, write everything down in detail. If you have to use this plan, you and the people you love are probably going to be in panic mode and following an easy to understand plan, will help calm and focus you.
Write down the people who will be traveling with you, and any special instructions you’ll need to gather everyone together, in case a disaster or emergency occurs while you’re all away from home. Name the location that you and your family will use to meet up with each other and the location you will be evacuating to, if you cannot live in your home, but your immediate area is still safe. Include the address of the location, contact phone, email address and directions.
Next choose a location (writing down the details, address and contact information) that your family will use if you not only need to evacuate your home, but your immediate area or city. This might happen during a moderate hurricane or a tornado. Your third location is out of state, for a serious, widely destructive emergency like the Japan or Chile Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the Colorado Wildfires, or other disaster that will make your entire region uninhabitable.
You will also include these locations on your emergency wallet card and your family’s wallet cards. Now, no matter what the disaster, even a fire or local emergency, you and your family will now know where and how to gather, and who will be responsible for what, so you can quickly reunite and travel on to your emergency location together. If you like, you can also give a card to the person you chose to be your out-of-area contact as well.
Will you have any pets traveling with you? Be sure to fill out the pet section, so that you will have all the information you need for them, like the name and numbers for the veterinarian, their licenses, and names/numbers of kennels in the location you are evacuating to and any prescriptions or special instructions you’ll need until you return home.
Your Get Back To Life Plan
The worst part of any disaster, short of losing a loved one, is the possibility that the home you love and care for and everything in it would be damaged beyond repair. That is what your Get Back To Life Plan is all about.
Imagine that you and your family have survived an earthquake, but had to leave your area because it is uninhabitable.
You’re in your evacuation location two days after the quake. The phone rings. It’s a good friend of yours, who has just toured your neighborhood and is calling to tell you that your home is badly damaged and he doubts that you will be able to live in it for several months, if ever again.
After you and your family hold each other for a while and talk, you finally feel strong enough to open your Backup Plan Notebook. There you find your Get Back To Life Plan and begin making calls to your insurance agent, your contractor and your boss. You call the local real estate agent in your evacuation city and ask her to begin looking for temporary housing, register your children in the local school, and begin calling the contacts you need (that you jotted down just in case), to help you settle in. Getting settled is easier than you thought, since you have copies of all of the vital documents you need, like your birth certificates and property deeds in a safe deposit box at the local bank. It takes some time, but with hard work and a lot of courage, you and your family are back to living in a matter of weeks.
Now imagine the same scenario, the same phone call, holding your family, talking and then realizing that you have no plan and no clue how to get back to living your life. It’s CNN coverage all over again. The best part of this little scenario is that it hasn’t happened to you and that you have time right now, to make sure no matter what ever occurs in your area, you and your family will be prepared.
If you don’t have a copy of our Get Back To Life Plan yet, just download it here.  
Take a few minutes to think about the following questions:
  • How will we handle our bank accounts, paying our monthly bills and receiving our paychecks? How much emergency cash do we      need to have, while traveling?
  • What are our credit card limits and toll free numbers for emergency increases?
  • How will we work? Will we work remotely or have to look for new positions? What people or contacts can we call about temporary or permanent jobs?
  • How will we handle our medical, dental and prescription needs while in the new location? What doctors and dentists can we use while there?
  • How long can we stay in our evacuation location?      If we need to remain evacuated longer, where will we go/stay? Who will our real estate contacts be, if we need to find new permanent or temporary housing?
  • How are we going to secure the property or vehicles we had to leave behind?
  • How will we take care of our pets, during the evacuation and until we find new permanent housing?
  • How will we handle our transportation needs? What contacts will we need to purchase or lease vehicles?
  • How will we handle our daycare needs? How will we handle getting our children into school if necessary? What schools or      contacts will we need, to enroll them in a new school in a temporary or new location?
  • How will we handle any special needs in our family?
Once you’ve answered the questions, get your family together to work out any potential problems you have uncovered and then draft your plan. And don’t forget to compile a list of real estate agents, financial contacts and jobs, schools, doctors and other professionals or information that you might need to establish yourself in the new city temporarily or permanently.
Starting over is never easy, especially when it happens because of a disaster or other life changing emergency. But taking a few hours now to think through and draft a plan, will give you and your family the direction, information and support that you need, to get through not only the first hours and days after a disaster, but the first steps back to living the life you’ve worked so hard to build.

Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…

blogendsignature
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your Smartphone
How To Create Your Family’s Evacuation Plan
How To Download and Back Up Your Digital Photos

Learn how to put an ICE Contact on every type of smartphone in just minutes with The ICE My Phone Kit! Paperback Edition $14.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $5.00  Buy Now  Read more about it
_________________________________________________

The Book Inspired By The Blog. The Backup Plan 3.0

The Backup Plan 3.0 | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep everything that’s important to you, safe, sound and accessible. rnn10.wordpress.com

The Backup Plan 3.0, is filled with quick, easy, 5 minute steps you can take right now, to get everything that’s important to you organized, safe, sound and accessible.  Each section covers a different area, from backing up and fixing family photos, home movies and music, to vital documents, medical and financial information and even getting your digital life in order.  This special Bonus Edition includes 7 downloadable Bonus Books.  Paperback Edition $24.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $8.00  Buy Now       Read more about it

 

Raise Money & Save Lives!  Free Customized Editions of our books make a great fundraiser for your organization, companyor an extra stream of income for you.  

Your Business Continuity Plan May Be Missing Something…  Like your employees, for instance?  If your city is struck by a tornado, earthquake or other disaster, it isn’t just your company that will be affected – so will your employees.  That’s why you need to make sure they’re as prepared for an emergency as YOU are.  Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.  Read More About It

Like Us On Facebook

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Watch Our How-To Videos On YouTube

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Free Resources

After All It’s YOUR Birth Certificate

 

How To Archive Your Important Documents | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com.
You can’t rely on City Hall to replace your birth certificate after a flood or a hurricane. Chances are good that their originals will be just as waterlogged as yours are.
Just ask the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
After their vital documents were destroyed in the hurricane, many homeowners returned and went straight to the county recorder, bank, or schools to grab copies of their lost documents.  Unfortunately, many institutions and offices were destroyed too, along with all of their records.  It’s up to you to ensure that you have the copies of the documents that you and your family need, whenever and wherever you need them.
When you think about it, vital documents are more valuable to you, your finances and your family than they are to some local government official.  And if that’s the case, you’re the one who has to make sure that you know where your vital documents are and that you have instant access to them at all times.

How To Archive Your Important Documents | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com.

After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and more recently with the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Illinois, residents returned to their homes to find them destroyed.  Once they began to piece their lives back together, they realized they would need school transcripts and birth certificates or benefit determination letters.  So they went to their schools or state and city offices for help, only to find them under water or destroyed – along with all of the paper based records that had not yet been digitized.  You can’t count on your city to replace your records when they have just as good a chance of having their own copies destroyed in the same regional disaster.  And even federal buildings have had problems.  Fires in government buildings during the twentieth century destroyed many state censuses and at least one complete United States Census, wiping out the names, dates, and data of entire families.
And even when you can apply for a replacement copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate, don’t count on getting an exact copy of the original.  We were very surprised to find that out when we went to get an additional original copy of our birth certificates and those of my mother and grandmother.  Theirs were the same as the originals, but mine was completely different.  Gone were the details of my birth, the signatures, my parents’ middle names and occupations.
The new copy is simply the child’s name, parents’ first and last names, hospital, county and birth date.  The clerk told us that they’ve decided to streamline birth and marriage certificates, getting rid of all those old “useless” details and replacing them only with what “matters”.  Why?  To save space, along with the money that it would take to transcribe all that data.  But along with it, go all the details that add history and uniqueness to people’s lives – the story of their birth.  We’re huge proponents of knowing your family history and working to preserve it and can’t fathom the fact that cities and states across America are deleting all of those clues people need to find out where they come from.  Wow!   There’s a case for having several backup copies of those originals if I ever heard one!
We suggest people keep copies of their vital documents in at least three different places.   Scan or copy the originals of each paper document.
1) Put the originals in a waterproof safe or bin or locking file cabinet in your home.
2) Once you’ve scanned the originals, place them on a flash or portable hard drive and put that flash or hard drive in a safe deposit box in your own city.  If you can’t scan them just make copies and place those copies in the safe deposit box.
3) Place the third set of scans/copies in a safe deposit box outside of your city, in your family’s evacuation location.  Wherever you and your family will relocate during an area-wide evacuation.
Why do we advocate scanning?  Scanning allows you to have an exact, electronic copy of that original document, both on your computer and on a flash drive or portable hard drive. Not only can you secure it, you can even email it to someone else for safekeeping.  And with a scan, if that original is ever damaged or destroyed, you will be able to reprint it to create a clear, perfect original.  On the other hand, if you don’t scan a document and simply make another paper copy, it’s just as likely to be harmed or to fade and decay with age.  If you don’t have access to a scanner, go ahead and make copies.  Just make sure that you put them in different locations to minimize the danger of loss or destruction.
This leads me to my last point on vital documents.  If it’s so much better to have documents scanned and saved electronically, why do we advocate keeping paper copies as well?  For the same reason we advocate keeping prints of your cherished photos, even though you have them saved to your computer or on a CD.  For safe keeping!   As wonderful and trustworthy as electronic storage is, do you really want to trust the ONLY copies of your vital documents to a computer or an online file or photo archive?  We sure don’t!
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…
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The Backup Plan 3.0 | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep everything that’s important to you, safe, sound and accessible. rnn10.wordpress.com

The Backup Plan 3.0, is filled with quick, easy, 5 minute steps you can take right now, to get everything that’s important to you organized, safe, sound and accessible.  Each section covers a different area, from backing up and fixing family photos, home movies and music, to vital documents, medical and financial information and even getting your digital life in order.  This special Bonus Edition includes 7 downloadable Bonus Books.  Paperback Edition $24.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $8.00  Buy Now       Read more about it

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I don’t know about you, but the most important keepsakes in our house are our old family photos, followed closely by our home movies and music.  The problem is, grabbing piles of photo albums and all of the picture frames off the walls is hard to do if you have to get out of the house quickly. With How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music, you’ll learn quick, easy steps to back up your print/digital photos, home movies, cassettes, vinyl albums and archive them in multiple, disaster proof locations.     $12.95   Buy now at Amazon.com    Read more about it

 

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How To Earthquake Proof Your Bedroom

How To Earthquake Proof Your Bedroom | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com
Even though Melanie grew up in Southern California, when the shock hit, she didn’t know what to do first.  And if you’ve ever gone through an earthquake you’ll know what she means.  Our first “real” shaker was the Whittier quake and it was so strong it had me pinned to the bed.  That’s why it’s so important to have the things you need at your fingertips, before the quake strikes.  Like the recent 4th of July Ridgecrest Earthquake for example.
One of the reasons that earthquakes are so hard to prepare for is that they tend to happen very early in the morning.  Imagine being shaken out of a sound sleep, only to realize that your bed, your walls and your floor are all moving in opposite directions, while you try helplessly to remember the first item on your disaster checklist.
Which is why Melanie was running around pulling thing after thing out of her closet yelling, “Where are my earthquake clothes!!!”
Of course, a few minutes later she realized she didn’t even need to leave her house so her wardrobe ended up being a non-issue.  What she was really looking for was a way to regain a sense of control.  Her way of doing that just happened to be fashion!
Which is why Melanie was running around pulling thing after thing out of her closet yelling, “WHERE ARE MY EARTHQUAKE CLOTHES???!!!”
As longtime residents of Southern California we know how hard people work to get their offices, their homes and their garages ready for an earthquake.  Problem is, most earthquakes happen in the wee hours of the morning, which means that people don’t have their basic supplies where they need to be.   Their bedroom.
So let’s take care of that right now.

How To Earthquake Proof Your Bedroom

There are two things to keep in mind while making your bedroom earthquake safe.    Safety and Communication

Safety 

Make your bedroom as safe as possible, during and after an earthquake, by storing earthquake and first aid supplies near your bed and anchoring items and furniture that might fall or break.

Your Emergency Kit  

First, get a sturdy metal or heavy plastic box to hold your basic emergency supplies.  Make sure that it closes well and is heavy enough to stay where you put it, even during intense shaking.  Put it directly under your bed, so that you can grab it easily without having to get out of the bed.
In this box, place:
A whistle, a very cool can opener that opens cans without leaving sharp edges, an extra charged cell phone battery, a few protein bars, a few bottles of water, a small flashlight, small emergency radio and a first aid kit.  The rest of your supplies – whatever you feel would be necessary for you and your family – can go into the closet beneath your earthquake clothes.
Next to the box, place a pair of rubber-soled shoes for you and your spouse.  If you have kids, their shoes and a small flashlight should go under their beds.  The instant an earthquake wakes you – especially if it’s one that causes a lot of damage – put your shoes on before you get out of bed.  There might be broken glass or debris on the floor.  That goes double if you have to leave your home.  Outside you could encounter rocks, pieces of brick from chimneys or downed power lines.

The Closet

Choose a generic earthquake outfit.  If it’s cold out, jeans and a sweatshirt or warm sweater, plus a warm jacket and socks.  If it’s warmer, jeans, light layers and a light jacket and socks.  If you have to leave your home, you won’t necessarily get back in for hours or days.  Keep that outfit together at the end of your closet nearest to your bed, so you can grab the clothes and put them on without wasting time thinking about it.   This is no time for high fashion.
Right below your earthquake clothes, place a small box with the rest of your earthquake supplies.   This should include a hand-crank or battery powered radio, a larger flashlight, extra batteries, a few more bottles of water, high calorie or high protein food that will stay fresh for a year, a small stash of cash and if you have one, a portable television.  Two other things to include are a small generator and a portable charger that will give you extra battery life for cell phones.  If anyone in your family needs eyeglasses or prescription drugs, throw those in as well.  If they need refrigerated insulin, consider buying a small portable refrigerator for your bedroom.   Even if the electricity goes out, the refrigerator would remain cold enough for a few hours, until you would be able to get help.   Then place a reminder on your calendar every few months, to recycle the perishable items in your kit with fresh items.

Furniture

Make sure all of the cabinets, pictures, mirrors, televisions and anything else breakable in your bedroom are anchored down, so they don’t turn into earthquake driven torpedoes that can harm you or your family.   Carol Burnett had a close call during the Northridge Quake when a television flew off her bookcase and landed on her bed. Thankfully that night she had trouble sleeping and switched to the other side of the bed.  The best thing we’ve found to anchor furniture without harming it are Quakehold straps, which blend right into your decor without looking obvious.
Do you have breakable figurines, picture frames or glass keepsakes in bookcases or on dressers?  If so, anchor the bottom of the keepsake to the surface with Quakehold Museum Wax.  It holds items securely to a surface without harming either.  And if it’s in a bookcase, be sure to affix the keepsake to the back of the bookcase as well for extra safety.
Move a heavy piece of furniture into your bedroom that you and your spouse can use for shelter during a quake.  A heavy table or a desk you can both fit under is ideal.

Communication

You should be able to easily connect with the world around you, while sheltered in your room.  Not only will you be able to take care of your basic needs, but it will calm you down until you can leave your room, your home or get back to sleep.
After an earthquake, if the electricity is still on, turn on the TV or radio, so you’ll have a friendly voice there in the room with you and you won’t feel isolated or alone.  Besides true Angelenos always make bets on how big the earthquake was and never go back to bed until they hear Dr. Kate Hutton’s report on the preliminary magnitude from Cal Tech, so they can see who won the bet.
Keep one cell phone in the room with you at night, where you can easily reach it.  And get into the habit of plugging it into the charger when you get home in the evening so it will always be ready to go whenever you need it.
You’re probably wondering why we advised you to put a whistle in your emergency kit.  When the Northridge earthquake hit, many apartment residents were trapped in their bedrooms and had to be rescued.  A whistle can help you communicate your location to rescue teams.  That and a cell phone with GPS.  Both are probably a good idea.
If you have a landline phone, keep it.  Cell phones are great, but the chances of cell towers being down after an earthquake are much more likely than phone lines being inoperable.  And even if they’re up and running, cell traffic, tweeting and data use can skyrocket after an earthquake, overwhelming the circuits.  Give yourself as many alternate ways of communicating as possible.  Preferably a mobile phone, smartphone, landline phone and a notebook, iPad, or tablet with Wi-Fi access.
Don’t forget, that if you need to check on local friends or relatives, it’s usually easier to call long distance numbers, than local numbers after an earthquake.  It’s smart to appoint an out of town contact for all of your family members to check in with, until your communications within the quake zone return to normal.
For more information on making your family earthquake-ready, check out this post.  And if you’re ready to take organizing to the next level, be sure to pick up a copy of our newest book slash program Ready.  
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…
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