How To Back Up Your Parent’s Print Photos

How To Back Up Your Parent’s Printed Photos 

I don’t know about you, but the worst part about watching coverage of earthquakes — like the quakes in Ecuador and Japan — is the look on victim’s faces as they pick through the rubble of their homes, trying to find a photo of their wedding or of their children.  
In today’s world, now that we have cell phones, taking photos has become almost a daily event.  If one gets harmed or destroyed, we just print out another copy.  Not true though for old family photos that are hanging on the wall, or worse, stuck like glue inside a yellowed photo album.  
And where will you find most of those old photos?  At your parent’s and grandparent’s house — where unfortunately one-of-a-kind can mean just that.  One copy and that’s it! What a horrible thing it would be for them or for you to be left without the pictures you treasure the most, especially when keeping them safe and sound is so easy.
So give this post a quick read, grab the tools you need for the job and let’s get Mom and Dad’s photos squared away once and for all!
As you know, there are two types of photos.  The first are photo 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.  That’s what we’ll be dealing with in this chapter.  The second type of photo is a digital photo – which we help you back up and archive in another post.  
One thing that makes print 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.  
So your first task is to locate all of your parent’s physical photos.  Don’t forget to look for all the albums, photos in drawers or files and those hanging in frames on the walls or sitting on the bookshelf.   Then you’ll decide which of those photos you want to archive for safekeeping.  After that, we’ll get them scanned.  
If there are 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.
1. Grab a pencil and paper, and go around the house jotting down all the non-digital photos or photo collections you want to secure and their current location.
2. Gather all of the photos that you located. Although all of your photos are important, some mean more to your parents than others.
Take a few moments to look at the photo albums, prints and framed photos and separate them into two different piles.
  • In the first pile, place photos that you want to copy and save in a digital format, for safekeeping.
  • In the second pile, 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 other copies of the photo 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!
Take the photos in the first pile, scan each one and download it to your computer, placing them in a brand new folder. When you’re finished, make one copy of that complete folder.  Place the original folder in with the other digital photos on your computer.  Then place the copy of the folder into the backup folder you created earlier.
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 Three 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 or on the file directory of your family’s 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 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 scanner we wanted to mention is one 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.   There are several models on Amazon.com.  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 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.
Fixing Faded or Damaged Old Photos
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.  
No matter what method you use to scan and back up your parent’s or grandparent’s old photos, the beaming grins on their faces will tell you exactly how much this — and you — mean to them!
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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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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 Back Up ALL Your Music – Even Vinyl!

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How much do you LOVE your music?  

For most of us, it’s not just a bunch of CDs and MP3s.  It’s the soundtrack of our lives.  And when you have something that important, you want to make sure that it’s around, safe and sound for a long, long time. 

So let’s take a few minutes, grab that music collection of yours and back it up for safekeeping.  And who knows?  You might even be able to put that amazing vinyl jazz solo you love, on your smartphone!

1. Back Up Your MP3s

Do you have MP3 or other digital music files on your computer, smartphone or other devices? 
On your PC or Mac, create a folder called “Backup Music (dd/mm/yy)” using today’s date.
Grab all of your devices and take a few moments to download, send or save all of your MP3s (or other digital music files) to your computer.  Then put all of those MP3s into the backup folder. 
Locate all of the digital music on your computer’s hard drive.  Leaving the originals where they are, make copies of the music folders and place them into the backup folder.
2. Deal With CDs, Cassettes & Vinyl Albums
Gather all your CDs, Vinyl Albums and Cassettes and set them on a nearby table.
Although all of your music is important, some means more to you than others. 
Separate your CDs, cassettes and vinyl albums into two piles.
  • Pile One: Music you love that you want to copy and preserve digitally for safekeeping.
  • Pile Two:  Music that you:
    • A) Already have in MP3 format.
    • B) Have numerous copies of the album in other locations (double check that this is true).
    • C) Simply don’t care about preserving.
Go ahead and put the music in pile two back where you found it.
3. Convert Your CDs to MP3s
Convert the CDs to MP3s using Windows Media Player (for PCs) or Audacity for Mac.  Just pop in the CD into your computer, open the software and follow the instructions.
Once they’re ripped, save copies of each album to the regular music folder on your computer and to your new backup folder.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to download your favorite songs to your iPod or smartphone.
4. Convert Your Cassettes & Albums to MP3s
Here are a few easy ways we’ve found to convert your cassettes or albums to MP3s.
There are several vinyl album to MP3 recorders available including the Crosley Memory Master II 3-Speed Turntable with CD Player/Recorder .  The nice thing about that one is that it converts cassettes and vinyl to CD or to MP3s.  And if you only have cassettes to convert, there is the ION Tape Express
Once you’ve saved copies of your cassettes and vinyl albums, save them to the regular music folder on your computer, to your new backup folder and don’t forget to put your favorites on your smartphone or MP3 player.
And while you’re at it, how about helping mom, dad, grandma or grandpa preserve their old albums while you’re at it.  An MP3 player or new iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy full of their favorite songs would make a GREAT gift!
    5.  Backing Up Your Music For Safe Keeping
    Since we’ve been talking about preserving your music, once you’ve got it all backed up, it only makes sense to keep it safe and sound. 
    So save a copy of your Backup Music folder onto a flash drive or a portable hard drive and place it in at least two secure, damage-proof locations, away from home for safekeeping. 
    Here are a few suggestions on places to put it:
    • In a watertight Plastic Evacuation Bin. 
    • In a safe deposit box in your own city.
    • In a water/fireproof safe in your own city.
    • In a safe deposit in a pre-determined evacuation location
    • In a password protected file on Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive or family web site.
    Or if you’re ready to get EVERY area of your life straightened up, grab a copy of our book Ready. Here’s the link to the Paperback Edition at Amazon.com .

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

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    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

    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

    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

    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 Save Your Vinyl Albums & Cassettes Onto Your Computer

    How Much is Your Music Collection Worth? 

    An even better question is, how much is it worth to you? 

    People would rather part with their high school yearbooks than their music. 
    It’s special.  Intensely personal.  Truly the soundtrack to our lives. 

    That’s why it’s so important to copy and archive your music the RIGHT way. 

    The other day I walked into a store and wasn’t paying much attention to anything but finding the item I had stopped in for.  All of a sudden a song began to play on the store’s radio.  I hadn’t even heard what was playing before, but now, my entire mood changed.  It was “Hooked On A Feeling”, which will be forever known as the Dancing Baby song from “Ally McBeal”.  Not only did the music have my attention, but I immediately got a picture of that ridiculous dancing baby in my mind and had a huge smile on my face.  So did half of the people in the store. What is it about music that can bring you such immediate, overwhelming emotions?  It  transports you the place you were when you first heard it or always listened to that song. 
    And it’s not just the Ooogachucka of the dancing baby, but it’s so many songs, like the theme from the Dancing Waters show at Disneyland Hotel, where we went so many evenings when I was growing up in Orange County.
    The hard part about protecting the music that we’ve amassed over the years isn’t collecting it, it’s making sure that our soundtracks are there for us to listen to and enjoy for years to come. 
    Just think about the types of music that you probably have in your home right now.  You probably have MP3s that you’ve downloaded from iTunes or other sites for your iPod or MP3 player.  Then, there’s your collection of CDs that you did or did not get around to ripping onto your computer and turning into MP3s.  If you’re over 30, you probably have quite a few cassettes hanging around and you probably even have some vinyl albums or 8 tracks as well that are either yours or have been handed down to you by family members.
    Except for the MP3s and, with a little work, the CDs, none of those things are exactly on speaking terms with your computer.  And if you’re like most people, the MP3s are probably all over your computer, in a bunch of different folders.  That doesn’t include the music you’ve downloaded to your phone or to your tablet that you haven’t gotten around to backing up onto your PC or Mac.   And chances are, you and your family members have spent quite a lot of money on those downloaded songs, those CDs, cassettes and whatever else you have your music on.
    Losing them, whether physically in a fire or flood, or digitally on a crashed cellphone or computer, would be a nightmare.   People put so much money into their music collections, but very few ever think to back it up!
    So let’s gather that music collection of yours and back it up.  Not only will you be able to find your songs when you want them, but you’ll finally be able to hear that amazing jazz solo you have on vinyl on your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy!

    Take Action! 

    1. Here CDs, Here Cassettes.   Where Are Your Albums?

    Grab a pencil and paper and jot down the types of music you have that you want to secure and their current location.
    Using the list you just compiled, locate and gather all of the CDs, cassettes and vinyl albums that you want to secure and set them aside for a moment.

    2. What About The Music That’s Already Digital?

    Do you have MP3 or other digital music files?
    First grab your MP3 player, your cell phone, your iPad or tablets and make sure all of those music files are downloaded to your computer desktop now.
    • Create one new folder on your computer desktop and name it “Backup Music (dd/mm/yy)” with today’s date.
    • Locate all of the digital music on your hard drive that you want to keep safe.  Leave the original files where they are on your computer, but copy each one and place the copies in that new Backup folder.

    3. Time To Deal With The Albums & CDs…

    Although all of your music is important, some means more to you than others.  Take a few moments to look at your CDs, cassettes and vinyl albums, and separate them into two different piles.
    • In the first pile, place music that you’ll need to copy and save in a digital format, to keep them safe.
    • In the second pile, place music that you:
    • Already have in digital format and could easily find if the one you’re holding was harmed or destroyed.
    • Have numerous other copies of the music in other locations.  (be sure that this is actually so before you decide not to copy them)
    • Simply don’t care enough about to keep it disaster safe.
    • You can go ahead and put the music in the second pile away.

    4. Convert Your CDs to MP3s

    You can convert CDs right on your computer, using your computer’s music software.  For a PC, that would be Windows Media Player.  Just put the CD into your computer and the software will automatically pop up.  Follow the instructions to “rip” your CD.
    When your songs are ripped, take your CD out and save the new MP3 files to the music folder on your computer.  We’ll back those up to keep them safe in a few minutes.  But don’t forget to add those new songs to your phone iPad or MP3 player!

    5Convert Your Cassettes & Albums to MP3s

    Here are a few easy ways we’ve found to convert your cassettes or albums to MP3s.
    There are several vinyl album to MP3 recorders available including the Crosley Memory Master II 3-Speed Turntable with CD Player/Recorder.  The nice thing about that one is that it converts cassettes and vinyl to CD or to MP3s.  And if you only have cassettes to convert, there is the ION Tape Express.
    Once you’ve saved copies of your cassettes and vinyl albums, save them to the regular music folder on your computer, to your new backup folder and don’t forget to put your favorites on your smartphone or MP3 player.

    6. Save Them To Your Computer

    Download the new MP3 files to your computer desktop, placing them in a brand new folder.  When you’re finished, make one copy of that complete folder.  Place the original folder in with the other digital music files on your computer.  Then place the copy of the folder into the backup folder you created earlier.
    If you don’t have access to a converter or don’t own a computer, then have a relative or friend convert them and store them for you. 
    And while you’re at it, how about helping mom, dad, grandma or grandpa preserve their old albums.  A brand new smartphone or MP3 player full of their favorite albums would make a GREAT gift!

    7. And Then Archive The Back Up Copies

    Where and how you decide to secure and store your own digital music files is up to you.  But here are a few ideas:
    • On a password-protected 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 password-protected flash drive or portable hard drive, in a safe deposit box or water/fireproof safe in your own city.
    • On a password-protected 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 iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox or on the file directory of your personal web site.  That way you can retrieve them from any Internet-enabled computer.
    Would you like to download these instructions for later?  Just click here and save them to your computer.
    Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
    blogendsignature

    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 Preserve Your Family History

    Every family has a history keeper. 

    How To Preserve Your Family History | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.comSometimes it’s the eldest daughter or the most responsible aunt and sometimes it’s simply the person with the biggest house.  But in every family throughout the centuries, the task of keeping the family history alive usually falls to one person. 
    It doesn’t even matter if that person is particularly good at it.  Whether they use a basement or an attic, there’s always one person whose home is piled with photo albums, birth certificates, marriage certificates, newspaper clippings and Civil War muskets.  
    And for centuries this made sense.  Families didn’t move a lot, and photos and keepsakes – well it was so difficult to make copies of them or move them without them falling to pieces – that it just made sense to leave them be, until one of the kids who was “interested in those things”, came by to investigate where they came from. 
    And history wasn’t always relegated to photos and muskets.  It was also passed down from generation to generation through stories and legends by people who had heard them so many times, they could simply sit down next to a fire and regale everyone with Uncle Frank’s escapades during the war or the time Aunt Sophie saved her entire family from ruin.
    But in last few decades all of that has changed.  Television and the internet have taken the place of listening to our elders share their stories.  In fact those elders are probably too busy to do it.  They’re all off starting a blog or out volunteering in the community.  Family history now consists of fading ten year old video tapes or Facebook photos of last month’s birthday bash.
    Which is probably the reason services like Ancestry.com are flourishing.   We all want to know where we came from.  Not just the last two generations but decades and centuries ago.  And with places like Ancestry.com linking us with a past that makes our own history spring to life, genealogy is suddenly cool again.
    And that leads us right back to the history keepers.  Back in the recesses of those attics and basements are pieces of our history – and every day they’re falling to pieces.  The photos are curling and yellowing.  The documents are fading, the newspapers and Family Bibles are turning to pulp and the christening outfit is being consumed by moths.
    I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard the same thing.  “Aunt Sadie had a huge house so she kept all the family albums.  We never thought about whether they were safe or not, until the night her house burned down or her basement flooded.  And then suddenly, two hundred years of history was a soggy, unsalvageable mass of lumpy paper.”  
    So who is the best person to be the keeper of the history in your family?  There’s only one logical answer to that question.

    Everyone!  It’s time for every person in every family to start sharing the load and sharing the history.

    Don’t just appoint one family member to do it.  It’s not practical and it’s certainly not fair.  What about getting together and making a day of it?  Gather all of the family photos from everyone homes and have a scanning party.  You can share memories while you scan and then when you’re done, each person gets a copy of all of the photos on a nicely labeled DVD.  Do the same thing with the family videos or Super8 movies.  One group can be scanning the photographs and archiving them, while another group transfers the videos and films onto DVDs.
    Have you ever thought of doing an oral history of your family?  Years ago, families didn’t have sound on their 8 mm or Super8 movies, and never had the chance to hear what their great or great-great grandparents sounded like.   It’s such an honor and such an opportunity to be able to capture all of the people we love on video now so that we can share them with generations to come. Not only does it bring history to life for everyone, but it shows the entire journey of who we are as a family and how that has made us the individuals we are today.
    When Spike Lee was on NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are,” he told a touching story about his grandmother.  Evidently she was a wonderful storyteller and lived way into her nineties.  Even though he’s a filmmaker and had all of the equipment right there at his fingertips, he just never got around to getting her or her stories on film.  And then she passed away, and he lost that opportunity. 
    He had tears in his eyes when he told the story on the show, and today, not getting her on film is one of his biggest regrets.  Maybe he just didn’t want to think that some time she might no longer be with them.  So take Spike Lee’s advice.  Grab a video camera and get those relatives and their stories on video for posterity.  Then anytime you or your children want to hear Grandma or Great-Grandpa and visit with them for a bit, all you have to do is pop in the video and they and their stories will spring to life.
    If you have a people in your family who are great at research, consider getting a membership for Ancestry.com and putting them hot on the trail of your forefathers and mothers.  If you’ve never been out there, you’d be amazed the treasures you can find, like photos, censuses, war records and steamship records.  In fact, we found out that we’re actually related to an amazing woman who led the Red Cross into the 20th Century!
    But when you unearth all that information on Ancestry.com, save each and every piece.  Archive it on your own computer and then save it to your family tree on Ancestry.com, and give access to that tree and documents to your family so THEY can save the document and tree on their own computers.  This way each member of your family will have an entire history for each generation to come, without relying on the water-tightness of Aunt Sophie’s basement, or the crash resistance of one person’s computer hard drive.
    We were discussing ways to keep family history and vital documents save with Steve Leveen, founder of Levenger, who is a great fan of fine books and libraries.  He told us that, people in library circles have an acronym that helps them preserve important documents.  It’s LOCKSS –Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe.   The Library at Alexandria burned three times – believe it or not, one of those times was on purpose!  But it still survived, because they learned not to keep everything in a centralized location.  Centralizing things in one place makes them susceptible to damage.
    And what if the relative who is currently the keeper of the history won’t let you take the family photos home to scan them?  Not to worry.  Grab a portable wand scanner, like the one we like best, the VuPoint Hand Scanner.   They’re small, rechargeable and can scan any flat surface, including a photo right in the frame.  Just gather a couple of friendly family members, knock on Aunt Sophie’s door, whip out your scanner and start capturing all that family history.  Once she sees her prized photos being downloaded to your laptop, where they’ll be safe for years to come, she’ll come around.  And if she doesn’t?  Well, you’ve got your digital copies of her photos, along with a batch of her delicious cookies for the trip home.

    Take Action! 

    1. First, Grab What You Have

    Grab a pencil and paper and jot down the types of family history documentation you currently have in your home.
    Here are a few ideas to get you started:
    • Family Photos
    • Family Tree
    • Relatives’ Birth/Marriage/Death Certificates
    • Land Titles/Deeds
    • Family History Documents
    • Census Records
    • Relatives’ Videos/Interviews/Oral Histories on tape
    • Anything else related to the history of your family
    Using the list you just compiled, locate and gather all of those documents.  If necessary, divide them into separate files for each family surname.

    2. Next Scan & Archive

    Are any of the family history documents or photos you located already on computer?   If so, copy the documents (leaving the originals where they are on your computer) to a new folder called Family History Backup.
    Scan all of the paper documents you gathered  at 300dpi or higher and save them to your computer.  When you’re finished, make a copy of those documents and put them in your Family History Backup folder.
    If you don’t have a computer, see if you can find someone to scan and save the documents for you.  If that’s not possible, then have high quality copies made at your local copy shop.

    3.  The Family Tree

    If you want to take your family history up a notch – or if you’re the historian in your family – we suggest using Ancestry.com or their Family Tree Maker software to create your own Family Tree.
    If you haven’t been on Ancestry.com yet, you’ll be amazed at the amount of information, photos, historical documents and census data that’s waiting for you.  And once you’ve created your family’s tree you can share all of your information with other family members.

    4.  Finding The Other Pieces To The Puzzle

    Once you begin preserving your family history, you might just have to go and grab pieces of it from grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and anyone else you can find who has boxes of it in their attic or basement.  Those boxes were fine when no one ever moved and historical documents could only be saved in boxes tied up with ribbon.  But now that we can actually preserve documents either by storing them in acid free containers, albums or scanning them, there is no longer any reason to make Great Aunt Sophie the sole preservationist in the family.
    Not only is it unfair to Aunt Sophie to have all of that pressure, but if something should happen to her home, the memories of an entire family will disappear.  That actually happened to one side of our family.  Just two weeks before we located the aunt who was the keeper of the records, her basement, bone dry for thirty years, suddenly flooded from a winter storm and along with it went all traces of the Sullivan family photos and history.

    5. Getting The Real Story – On Video

    Are there people in your family that you want your grandchildren and great grandchildren to meet years from now?  Don’t just rely on a photo or someone’s memory to tell the story.  Put them on video.
    Fire up the video camera and get your favorite relatives to tell their favorite stories or prepare the family’s favorite cake or pie  on camera.  Then save the videos on DVD in multiple locations to preserve another piece of your family’s memories.

    6. Fixing Those Faded Photos

    First, 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.  There are three different tools we recommend for this.  
    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.  

    How To Preserve Your Family History & Restore Your Photos | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/familyhistory/How To Preserve Your Family History & Restore Your Photos | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/familyhistory/

    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!  
    Would you like a copy of the instructions in the blog post for later?  Just click here and save the PDF version to your computer.

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

    blogendsignature

    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 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.  
    wpa1fe5b79_05_06

    wp17fceb67_05_06

    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…
    blogendsignature

    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 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 Set Up Your Medical ID & ICE Contact On The iPhone 6
    How to put an ICE Contact on your Samsung Galaxy Lock Screen
    Can I Put An ICE Contact On A Password Protected 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 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…

    blogendsignature

    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 Get Ready For A #Wildfire

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

    Courtesy of KRDO, Waldo Fire

    The chaos of that moment is overwhelming. 

    The moment a firefighter’s knocks at the door or the flames of a wildfire near.  
    What should you take, where will you go and, if the worst happens, how will you go on?  No one knows that better than hundreds of thousands of people who had to evacuate their California homes for the Thomas Fire, Mendocino fire or the Carr and Ranch Fires. 
    That’s why it’s SO important to have an evacuation plan before a wildfire strikes.  That way you don’t have to answer those questions while you’re on your way out the door.
    Here’s a video we did discussing Colorado Spring’s Waldo Fire with the local Fox affiliate. Although the book offer is over, it gives you a great window into what Colorado was facing during the Waldo Fire.

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

    Even though you might not technically live in a disaster zone or directly in the path of an approaching wildfire, it doesn’t hurt to have the things that are important to you, ready to go. As we tell our customers (and practice ourselves), you have to keep your vital information, documents and keepsakes backed up to at least three different locations and your emergency bin packed ready to go at a moment’s notice.  That way if you suddenly have to evacuate, those things will already be taken care of.  It’s just one more thing you won’t have to worry about doing at the last minute or doing without, later.
    The hardest part about a wildfire is that they’re impossible to predict  One important realization from previous fires is the importance of staying aware and using evacuation warnings to get your own stuff together even if the homes on your particular street aren’t in immediate danger.  Another is to heed warnings when their given.  Stubbornly staying behind to help protect their own homes instead of letting the firefighters handle it has gotten thousands of people killed.  
    So how do you prepare for a wildfire? As we tell our clients, we always follow the…

    Three Step Approach

    The First Step, is to make sure that you have your disaster survival gear and know how to secure your home and personal safety when a wildfire 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 of the country prone to fires, you absolutely need an Evacuation Plan and a Get Back To Life Plan.  If you don’t know the evacuation routes in your area, call your local fire department for this information way before flood season.  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 the wildfire doesn’t reach your home, your neighborhood and city might still without power or basic city services for a few days.  Telephone and/or cell service could also be down.   That 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 a wildfire, because there are literally hundreds of sources for that information, including a few of our favorite guides and manuals below:
    Wildfire Preparation Guide        Wildfire Checklist       Fire Guide            Fire Recovery
    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 wildfires and floods you saw on CNN. Remember the faces of the people in the midst of the disaster?
    They looked shell-shocked, terrified, lost. Most of those people, were at least moderately prepared for a disaster. Those in wildfire 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.
    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…

    By 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 Hurricane Maria or Irma or the Thomas or Mendocino Fires in California — a 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 the fire, but had to leave your area because it is uninhabitable.
    You’re in your evacuation location two days after the fires subside. 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

    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 Get Ready For A Hurricane

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

    Nothing is more unpredictable than a hurricane.

    As Hurricane Isaac made landfall on the New Orleans coastline as a category 1 storm, residents couldn’t help remembering another storm just a few short years earlier that took the lives of at least 1,836 people and changed the lives of tens of thousands more.  
    But even with a category 1 storm like Isaac, lives can change. 
    Just ask the residents that didn’t think that Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Irma were going to be as big a deal as Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina and decided not to evacuate. 
    People who thought that their homes would be okay, ended up having to grab whatever they could — not necessarily what they would need – and evacuate with just a few minute’s notice.
    It certainly proves one thing — you just can’t count on history or predictions, to help you decide what’s right for yourself, your property or your family.

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

    It’s a good lesson for us all.  Even though you might not technically live in a disaster zone or directly in the way of an approaching hurricane or wildfire, it doesn’t hurt to have the things that are important to you, ready to go. As we tell our customers (and practice ourselves), you have to keep your vital information, documents and keepsakes backed up to at least three different locations and your emergency bin packed ready to go at a moment’s notice.  That way if you suddenly have to evacuate, those things will already be taken care of.  It’s just one more thing you won’t have to worry about doing at the last minute or doing without, later.
    The best thing about a hurricane — at least as opposed to earthquakes and tornadoes — is that you usually get a few days notice that they’re coming.  Like our friends in New Orleans and Tampa, Hurricane Isaac was predicted giving some residents time to gather up their belongings and evacuate.  But of course Isaac turned the opposite direction striking areas that weren’t originally expected.  One important take-away from these disasters is the importance of staying aware and using evacuation warnings to get your own stuff together even if the homes on your particular street aren’t in immediate danger.   Heed warnings when they are given!  Stubbornly staying behind because residents think they can “handle it” has gotten thousands of people killed.  Another lesson is to always purchase flood insurance.
    So how do you prepare for a hurricane? As we tell our readers, we always follow the Three Step Approach.

    Step One

    Make sure that you have your disaster survival gear and know how to secure your home and personal safety when a hurricane strikes.

    Step Two

    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.

    Step Three

    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 hurricane country, you absolutely need an Evacuation Plan and a Get Back To Life PlanIf you don’t know the evacuation routes in your area, call your local fire department for this information way before hurricane season.  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.
    So if your hurricane plan is to shelter-in-place make 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, turbid water 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 a hurricane, because there are literally hundreds of sources for that information, including a few of our favorite guides and videos listed below:
    Hurricane Guide       Hurricane Checklist       Hurricane? Be Prepared, Plan Now Video   Hurricane Video by Weather Channel’s Bryan Cross
    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 hurricanes and floods you saw on CNN.   Like Hurricane Sandy for example.  Remember the faces of the people in the midst 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.
    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 Ready.  
    The evacuation plan is pretty simple. It all comes from 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.

    Location, Location

    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 Mexico Earthquake, Hurricane Irma or Maria, the California 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 the hurricane, but had to leave your area because it is uninhabitable.
    You’re in your evacuation location a week after the waters subside. 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

    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 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 Set Up Your Medical ID & ICE Contact On The iPhone 6
    How to put an ICE Contact on your Samsung Galaxy Lock Screen
    Can I Put An ICE Contact On A Password Protected 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 Get Ready For A #Tornado

    joplintornado

    How To Get Your Stuff Together For A Tornado

    The past few years have been deadly for tornadoes.

    Last year it was Oklahoma, Tennessee and Illinois. This year, tornado season has barely begun and already Alabama and Georgia have been struck by F3 twisters decimating Beauregard and other towns in Lee County. 

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

    The worst thing about tornadoes is that  you don’t usually have plenty of warning that one is about to strike. But if you take the time to create a simple plan, you’ll know how to get the people you love and the stuff that is most important to you to a safe place, as quickly and easily as possibly.

    With preparation comes the ability to not only survive a tornado, but to thrive after the emergency has passed.  Here’s how to do it…

    The Three Step Approach.

    Step One

    Make sure that you have your disaster survival gear at your fingertips and that you know how to secure your home and personal safety when a tornado strikes.  Know where your tornado shelter is — if it isn’t in your home — and the quickest and easiest routes to get there.  In fact, it might be a good idea to hold practice drills to see how quickly you and the kids can get out of the house and sheltered from the storm, with everything you need.

    Step Two

    Make sure that you have everything you need – necessities, keepsakes, vital information – in the shelter with you or waiting for you in your pre-determined evacuation location.  This is a lot easier than it sounds, if you have a storm shelter in your home. 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.

    Step Three

    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.
    Because tornadoes can happen so suddenly, most families end up having to ride out the storm in their shelter, storm cellar or bathroom.  But having to shelter in place doesn’t mean that you don’t need a plan, not only to survive the storm and evacuate if necessary once it passes, but to ensure that you and your family have everything you need to get back to living, once the emergency is over.  We’ve got two other blog posts I’d like to recommend for two very specific tornado-related challenges.  One is communication.  Technology has completely revolutionized the way we ride out tornadoes.  We interviewed a reporter from Arkansas recently who spent last tornado season in her bathtub, staying safe using up to the minute storm tracker apps and disaster safety utilities on her iPad and iPhone.  If you have a lot of tornadoes in your area, you’ve GOT to read this interview.  It could literally save your life.
    The second post is about a TV show — CSI: Miami to be exact.  They did an episode about a tornado last season that was not only very well done, but one of the characters lost her life because her parents failed to do one simple thing.  Find out what it was at this link.
    If you live in an area of the country prone to tornadoes, you absolutely need an Evacuation Plan and a Get Back To Life Plan.  If you don’t know the evacuation routes in your area, call your local fire department for this information way before tornado season.  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 the tornado doesn’t physically impact your home, your neighborhood and city might still without power or basic city services for a few days.  Telephone and/or cell service could also be down.   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 a tornado, because there are literally hundreds of sources for that information.  In fact here area a few great downloadable resources that we recommend.   Tornado Guide       Tornado 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.
    Talking about a tornado is one thing. But experiencing that devastation first hand puts things in perspective.
    Here’s a quote from LA Times reporters Nicholas Riccardi, Matt Pearce and Robin Abcarian, on the scene after the Joplin, Missouri tornado. (5/23/11)
    “When the tornado hit, Staci Perry, a scrub technician at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, had just left the operating room to grab a piece of equipment for a surgery in progress. An urgent announcement came over the loudspeaker: “Execute condition gray.” That was the hospital’s code for an impending disaster, though in drills, the command was always preceded by “Prepare for condition gray.”
    There was no time to prepare. As she heard the massive glass walls crack, Perry, 33, dashed back to surgery. “The pressure in everyone’s ears was just tremendous,” she said. A physician’s assistant threw himself against the door so it wouldn’t blow in and destroy the operating room. The lights went out. The wind howled.
    “Literally, the hospital imploded,” said Dr. Jim Riscoe, an emergency room physician at the 230-bed facility. There is an emergency plan for disasters, he said, “but they don’t anticipate the emergency being the hospital.”When it was over, just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday, the storm had gouged a six-mile swath roughly half a mile wide in this city of 50,000 people. At least 116 people died, five of them hospital patients.The apocalyptic after-images were depressingly familiar, reminiscent of those from the deadly April tornadoes in the South: rubble as far as the eye could see, cars buried under pieces of houses, trees wrenched from the ground with massive roots reaching toward the sky, columns of smoke rising from gas fires, emergency vehicles with lights flashing. And everywhere, knots of people stunned by nature’s violence mourned their losses, counted their blessings and told their harrowing stories.”
    So what do you think?  Is it worth a few minutes of your time to make sure your family is ready to deal with any emergency — including a tornado?
    That article always reminds me of CNN or FOX news coverage of whatever storm just took place.  One thing is always the same.  The faces of the people in the midst of the storm.
    They looked shell-shocked, terrified, lost. Most of those people, were at least moderately prepared for a disaster.
    Those in tornado 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.
    Preparing your home for a tornado is vital, but there is really only so much you can do. For example, in any of the recent F4 or F3 tornadoes, people did a phenomenal job tornado proofing their homes.
    But the one thing they could do nothing about, was the tornado itself. Based on the way the storm approached and its intensity when it touched down, there was no level of tornado preparedness that could save the homes in the path of the twister. In many neighborhoods every single home, tornado preparation or not, was gone, with nothing but a foundation left standing. And along with tornado, went the contents of those homes and businesses.
    That’s why your tornado emergency plan, must include a way to instantly locate and safeguard the vital information, documents and keepsakes that you’ll need to have access to after the emergency has passed.   And once you create the plan, you can use it in any emergency – not just tornadoes.
    And THAT – knowing what to do and where to go after the disaster is over, 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 Backup Plan Evacuation Plan and the Get Back To Life Plan — the same plans that we’ve built into our book Ready.
    The evacuation plan is pretty simple. It all comes from 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 the flood, but had to leave your area because it is uninhabitable.
    You’re in your evacuation location two days after the waters subside. 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 Ready In 10 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 actual Get Back To Life Plan grab one from the blog post or just  grab a piece of paper.
    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.
    Of course those are only two parts of your Backup Plan.  Your family’s complete Backup Plan should also include:
    1. Your Vital Information List: Copies of documents and a way to make them secure and accessible.
    2. Your Medical Information List: Medical, allergy and prescription drug history and insurance information for each person evacuating.
    3. Your ICE Contacts, Emergency Wallet Cards/ID, and optional Mobile Command Center.
    4. Your Backup Plan Evacuation Plan: Who is going to be evacuating with you, where will you go, where will you stay, and how will you get there?
    5. Your Evacuation Checklist:  The items, you need to take with you.
    6. Your Get Back To Life Plan: What you and your family will do if you are unable to live in your home, or city for an extended amount of time.
    7. Your Home Inventory
    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

    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 Get Ready For A #Flood

    How To Get Ready For A Flood | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com.A few years ago, before the town of Minot, ND had its own horrifying experience with a monster flood, an unexpected deluge hit the beautiful little town of Cranston, RI.  Not that flooding during a raging storm is ever a complete surprise.  But the part residents didn’t expect was that water began to rise outside the “flood zone”.   People who thought that their homes would be okay, ended up having to grab whatever they can and evacuate with just a few minute’s notice.
    It certainly proves one thing — you just can’t count on history or predictions, to help you decide what’s right for yourself, your property or your family.

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

    Even though you might not technically live in a disaster zone or directly in the way of an approaching hurricane or wildfire, it doesn’t hurt to have the things that are important to you, ready to go. As we tell our customers (and practice ourselves), you have to keep your vital information, documents and keepsakes backed up to at least three different locations and your emergency bin packed ready to go at a moment’s notice.  That way if you suddenly have to evacuate, those things will already be taken care of.  It’s just one more thing you won’t have to worry about doing at the last minute or doing without, later.
    The hardest part about a flood is that they’re so hard to predict.  Like our friends in Cranston and Minot, floods were predicted giving some residents time to gather up their belongings and evacuate.  But the floodwaters became a deluge, striking unexpected areas.  One important take-away from these disasters is the importance of staying aware and using evacuation warnings to get your own stuff together even if the homes on your particular street aren’t in immediate danger.  Another is to heed warnings when their given.  Stubbornly staying behind because they can “handle it” has gotten thousands of people killed.  And another lesson is to always have flood insurance.
    So how do you prepare for a flood?  We always follow the

    Three Step Approach

    The First Step, is to make sure that you have your disaster survival gear and know how to secure your home and personal safety when a flood 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 of the country prone to floods, you absolutely need an Evacuation Plan and a Get Back To Life PlanIf you don’t know the evacuation routes in your area, call your local fire department for this information way before flood season.  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 flood waters don’t reach your home, your neighborhood and city might still without power or basic city services for a few days.  Telephone and/or cell service could also be down.   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 a flood, because there are literally hundreds of sources for that information.  In fact, here are a few of our favorite videos:
    Flood Prep Video One     Flood Prep Video Two 
    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.

    Think about the coverage of the last few hurricanes and floods you saw on CNN.

    Remember the faces of the people in the midst of the storm?
    They looked shell-shocked, terrified, lost. Most of those people, were at least moderately prepared for a disaster. Those in hurricane 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.
    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 book 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 the flood, but had to leave your area because it is uninhabitable.
    You’re in your evacuation location two days after the waters subside. 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

    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 Make A Home Inventory

    How To Make A Home Inventory | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.comClose your eyes for a moment.  
    Picture the room you’re sitting in, in your mind.
    Picture each item, focusing especially on the items that mean the most to you or have the most monetary value.  When you’re done open your eyes.   Did you miss anything?   If you’re like most people, no matter how certain you were that you remembered everything, you still missed a lot of things that you would want to replace. 
    And even if you did pretty well, do you know off the top of your head what items were still under warranty, what was insured and for how much?   In other words, if this hadn’t been an exercise, but an insurance agent or a police officer writing down a list of your valuables after a burglary or a hurricane, would you have been happy with the list you made?
    I didn’t think so. 
    Memory is a wonderful thing, but it can be affected by many factors, like stress, trauma and fatigue – exactly the things that happen during an emergency.  That’s why putting together a list of your treasured or valued objects while they’re sitting in your living room and still in great condition is a MUCH better idea.
    And while we’re at it, that reminds me of something else we all have to deal with.  I don’t know about you, but to us, it seems like there’s a new cellphone, computer, or gadget of some kind out in the stores every day.  
    Every time you decide to buy a new one, it comes with more cords and manuals than anyone has room to store.  And if you decided to spring for the protection plan too, that hits the mailbox a few days later.  With just a few new toys, you can easily end up with a folder full of paper.
    Who can keep up with that?
    YOU can!  And very easily, too.  In the Action Steps below, we’re going to create a Home Inventory.  Just go through the steps, and decide room by room what items to include.  In fact if you have kids or grandkids in the house, this is a great project for them.  Once you decide which items to include, send them off on a scavenger hunt, list in hand along with a digital and video camera and have them take photos of each item.  Then when they’re done, enter each item along with its information into our downloadable Home Inventory Form, and you’re done.  
    And if you want a copy of these instructions for later, just  Click here to download the PDF Version.

    Take Action  

    1. Download Our Home Inventory List

    Click here to grab a copy of our Home Inventory Form,  or if you already own our book Ready, you’ll find copies in the book and in the downloadable forms.

    2. Grab Your Cameras & A Pencil

    Go get your video camera, your digital camera, your list and a pencil and begin walking through each room of your home.  Start with the living room, usually home to the most expensive electronic equipment.

    3. Document All the Info You Can Find

    For each valued item, (electronics, furniture, cars, art, jewelry or any other items that would be expensive to replace or repair),  fill in a short description, the manufacturer, serial number and any other information you know about it.
    If you have a copy of your warranty information, or original purchase receipts for any of the valued items, note the information on them on the Home Inventory List, then put those documents on the side until Step 6.

    4. Your Chance To Play Spielberg

    As you stop at each item, take a digital photo of it, to show its current condition.  If the item is damaged in a disaster, you’ll have proof of the item’s original condition to give to the claims adjuster. It will also remind you what the item looked like, if it ever needs to be replaced

    5. Spielberg Revisited

    Once you’re finished with the room, grab your video camera and do a quick video tour.  At the beginning of the videotape, clearly state today’s date and the room you’re photographing.  And while you’re taping, be sure to show the general condition of the room as well as your valued items.

    6. Paperwork, paperwork

    Gather all of the warranties, protection plans, certificates of insurance, provenance papers and receipts that you have found, and put them in the same location.  It doesn’t matter whether it is a file folder or a section inside your safe.  Just make sure that every time you purchase a new item that comes with any of this paperwork, that you put it in the same place.

    7. Now for safekeeping…

    Print, scan or make three copies of the Home Inventory List, the walking tour photos, the video and the warranties, receipts and other documents that you located earlier and store them 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 that’s it!  Just follow the steps and you’re done.  No more having to remember every single thing in your house.  Just be sure to update your list every six months.  Or if you watch a lot of QVC or HSN, every four months…
    Want to download a copy of the instructions for later?  Click Here to download the PDF Version.
    Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…
    blogendsignature

    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 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 Set Up Your Medical ID & ICE Contact On The iPhone 6
    How to put an ICE Contact on your Samsung Galaxy Lock Screen
    Can I Put An ICE Contact On A Password Protected 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

    Don’t Lose All Your Stuff In A Tornado

    Don't Lose All Your Stuff In A Tornado | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com.

    Emergency personnel walk through a neighborhood severely damaged by a tornado near the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP / 5/22/11)

    Don’t Lose All Your Stuff In A Tornado

    The past few years have been horrible for tornadoes.
    As Oklahoma, Tuscaloosa and Joplin still struggle to rebuild, this year’s tornadoes are already impacting families across the US.  The best way to deal with it is to make sure that your family has everything it needs.    In this blog post you’ll find a quick rundown of ways to get ready, links to tornado prep materials, videos and a few other great resources.  First, from our friends at ABC, here is a look at the havoc created by one night of tornadoes…
    I’ll admit that in a major disaster, you only have control over a few things. For instance, you can’t suddenly pick up your house and move it to tornado-free zone and you certainly can’t stop the ground from shaking during an earthquake. But you CAN make sure the people you love, the things you love and the things you need are out of harm’s way, before a tornado strikes.
    So what’s the best way to prepare for a tornado?
    The worst thing about tornadoes is that  you don’t usually have plenty of warning that one is about to strike. But if you take the time to create a simple plan, you’ll know how to get the people you love and the stuff that is most important to you to a safe place, as quickly and easily as possibly. If you consider this post (and the latest tornadoes and earthquakes) your warning, you can prepare.  With preparation comes the ability to not only survive a tornado, but to thrive after the emergency has passed.
    As we tell our readers (and practice ourselves), you have to keep your vital information, documents and keepsakes backed up to at least three different locations and your emergency bin packed ready to go at a moment’s notice.  That way if you suddenly have to evacuate, those things will already be taken care of.  It’s just one more thing you won’t have to worry about doing at the last minute or doing without, later.
    So how do you prepare for a tornado? As we tell our readers, we always follow the Three Step Approach.
    The First Step, is to make sure that you have your disaster survival gear at your fingertips and that you know how to secure your home and personal safety when a tornado strikes.  Know where your tornado shelter is — if it isn’t in your home — and the quickest and easiest routes to get there.  In fact, it might be a good idea to hold practice drills to see how quickly you and the kids can get out of the house and sheltered from the storm, with everything you need.
    The Second Step, is to make sure that you have everything you need – necessities, keepsakes, vital information – in the shelter with you or waiting for you in your pre-determined evacuation location.  This is a lot easier than it sounds, if you have a storm shelter in your home. 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.
    Because tornadoes can happen so suddenly, most families end up having to ride out the storm in their shelter, storm cellar or bathroom.  But having to shelter in place doesn’t mean that you don’t need a plan, not only to survive the storm and evacuate if necessary once it passes, but to ensure that you and your family have everything you need to get back to living, once the emergency is over.  We’ve got two other blog posts I’d like to recommend for two very specific tornado-related challenges.  One is communication.  Technology has completely revolutionized the way we ride out tornadoes.  We interviewed a reporter from Arkansas recently who spent last tornado season in her bathtub, staying safe using up to the minute storm tracker apps and disaster safety utilities on her iPad and iPhone.  If you have a lot of tornadoes in your area, you’ve GOT to read this interview.  It could literally save your life.
    The second post is about a TV show — CSI: Miami to be exact.  They did an episode about a tornado last season that was not only very well done, but one of the characters lost her life because her parents failed to do one simple thing.  Find out what it was at this link.
    If you live in an area of the country prone to tornadoes, you absolutely need an Evacuation Plan and a Get Back To Life Plan.  If you don’t know the evacuation routes in your area, call your local fire department for this information way before tornado season.  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 the tornado doesn’t physically impact your home, your neighborhood and city might still without power or basic city services for a few days.  Telephone and/or cell service could also be down.   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 a tornado, because there are literally hundreds of sources for that information.  In fact here area a few great downloadable resources that we recommend.   Tornado Guide       Tornado 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.
    Talking about a tornado is one thing.  But experiencing that devastation first hand puts things in perspective.  Just read this story from LA Times reporters Nicholas Riccardi, Matt Pearce and Robin Abcarian, on the scene in Joplin, Mo. (5/23/11)
    “When the tornado hit, Staci Perry, a scrub technician at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, had just left the operating room to grab a piece of equipment for a surgery in progress. An urgent announcement came over the loudspeaker: “Execute condition gray.” That was the hospital’s code for an impending disaster, though in drills, the command was always preceded by “Prepare for condition gray.”
    There was no time to prepare. As she heard the massive glass walls crack, Perry, 33, dashed back to surgery. “The pressure in everyone’s ears was just tremendous,” she said. A physician’s assistant threw himself against the door so it wouldn’t blow in and destroy the operating room. The lights went out. The wind howled.
    “Literally, the hospital imploded,” said Dr. Jim Riscoe, an emergency room physician at the 230-bed facility. There is an emergency plan for disasters, he said, “but they don’t anticipate the emergency being the hospital.”When it was over, just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday, the storm had gouged a six-mile swath roughly half a mile wide in this city of 50,000 people. At least 116 people died, five of them hospital patients.The apocalyptic after-images were depressingly familiar, reminiscent of those from the deadly April tornadoes in the South: rubble as far as the eye could see, cars buried under pieces of houses, trees wrenched from the ground with massive roots reaching toward the sky, columns of smoke rising from gas fires, emergency vehicles with lights flashing. And everywhere, knots of people stunned by nature’s violence mourned their losses, counted their blessings and told their harrowing stories.”
    Amazing isn’t it?   So what do you think?  Is it worth a few minutes of your time to make sure your family is ready to deal with any emergency — including a tornado?
    That article always reminds me of CNN’s coverage of the last spring’s tornadoes and floods.  Do you remember the faces of the people in the midst of the storm?
    They looked shell-shocked, terrified, lost. Most of those people, were at least moderately prepared for a disaster.
    Those in tornado 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.
    Preparing your home for a tornado is vital, but there is really only so much you can do. For example, in any of the recent F4 or F3 tornadoes, people did a phenomenal job tornado proofing their homes.
    But the one thing they could do nothing about, was the tornado itself. Based on the way the storm approached and its intensity when it touched down, there was no level of tornado preparedness that could save the homes in the path of the twister. In many neighborhoods every single home, tornado preparation or not, was gone, with nothing but a foundation left standing. And along with tornado, went the contents of those homes and businesses.
    That’s why your tornado emergency plan, must include a way to instantly locate and safeguard the vital information, documents and keepsakes that you’ll need to have access to after the emergency has passed.   And once you create the plan, you can use it in any emergency – not just tornadoes.

     

    Buy Paperback Edition $24.99         Buy Downloadable Edition $8.00
    And THAT – knowing what to do and where to go after the disaster is over, 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 Backup Plan Evacuation Plan and the Get Back To Life Plan — the same plans that we’ve built into our newest book/program The Backup Plan 3.0.
    The evacuation plan is pretty simple. It all comes from 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 the flood, but had to leave your area because it is uninhabitable.
    You’re in your evacuation location two days after the waters subside. 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 Ready In 10 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 actual Get Back To Life Plan grab one from the blog post or just  grab a piece of paper.
    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.
    Of course those are only two parts of your Backup Plan.  Your family’s complete Backup Plan should also include:

    1. Your Vital Information List: Copies of documents and a way to make them secure and accessible.
    2. Your Medical Information List: Medical, allergy and prescription drug history and insurance information for each person evacuating.
    3. Your ICE Contacts, Emergency Wallet Cards/ID, and optional Mobile Command Center.
    4. Your Backup Plan Evacuation Plan: Who is going to be evacuating with you, where will you go, where will you stay, and how will you get there?
    5. Your Evacuation Checklist:  The items, you need to take with you.
    6. Your Get Back To Life Plan: What you and your family will do if you are unable to live in your home, or city for an extended amount of time.
    7. Your Home Inventory

    That’s why we made sure that all of those things, plus all of the information you need to keep your family, your home and ll of the things you love and treasure, safe and secure, are in our newest book The Backup Plan 3.0.  By the way, all of the plans and checklists are both downloadable  and right inside the book, where we guide you through the process in quick and easy steps.
    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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    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

     

    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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