Fire! Fire! Fire!
In a frantic minute you grab your kids and get a safe distance from your house. There, you witness your home, and everything in it, burning to the ground. It's a total loss.
A disaster of any kind is never a pleasant experience, but at least there is insurance to rebuild your home and to replace many of your household items like furniture, etc. But let's talk about what is not insured. Things that once lost, are gone for ever.
I'm referring to your family keepsakes. Your home videos, family photos, journals, diaries and other priceless family treasures. Losing any of these things would be a terrible tragedy.
What if you had to evacuate your house and only had minutes or less to get out?
As I pondered this, I realized that it would be next to impossible, in a short amount of time, for me to get all of these things out of the house and to a safe location.
Why? Because I had 8mm video tapes all through the house. My old journals were stuck in a box somewhere in the garage. Some photo albums were up in closets while others I were stuck in places that would take some time to locate. I had no idea where they were. I had to go looking for them.
In a disaster situation, there is no time to go looking.
Here are some of the preventative measures that I took to keep myself from such a situation. Use these ideas and tips to ensure that your family memories are preserved for generations to come!
Share them as gifts often – Pictures of the family are great gifts to give to grandparents and other family members. If you lose yours, you always have a way to regain copies.
Online photo storage – My wife and I have put many of our pictures on a free, safe and secure family web site. There are many of these but I personally like MyFamily.com Build your site in minutes and you don't need to know a thing about making a web page. Your pictures are stored remotely and something like a house fire couldn't touch them.
Speaking of online photo storage, Facebook is now the world's largest photo repository in the world. Many use Facebook to store and share many of their best photos with friends and family. I have also used the services of Carbonite.com. They charge about $50 as year, but I think it is well worth considering.
One central location - Designate a location for all your photo albums and don't deviate. By putting them in a box and in one location in your house, you increase your chances of being able to get out quickly with all your pictures. There is still some risk to this idea, though. You may not be home at the time a disaster strikes, making it impossible to quickly grab these items.
Duplicate them - Makes copies and get them to other members of the family. These makes for a great gift. The easiest way to duplicate old family video tapes is to use a transfer service offered at such places as Walmart, Walgreens, Costco, etc. The cost is relatively cheap and they do a great job.
Personal histories of your own or those of an ancestors are one of the most valueable items in your possession. If kept protected, they will be treasured for generations to come.
Duplicate & Distribute - My grandma gave me a copy of my late grandpa's life story. I typed it up and printed multiple copies for all of my cousins and aunts and uncles. They loved it and we took steps to make sure grandpa's life story will live on in the hearts and minds of his posterity.
Diary Safeguard - If you are currently writing a journal or diary I realize that some of it may be personal and you may not wish for it to be distributed out at this time.
If you write your journal by hand, take your journal in and photo copy any part that you plan to pass on to your children someday! Don't wait! You may then look into putting a copy into a safe deposit box. Just as long as it is out of your house.
If you write your journal with the aid of a computer, I recommend storing copies often to any one of the many free online storage web sites. Nobody will be able to access your data but you. I personally recommend
The overriding rule with any situation is to duplicate your family keepsake items and store them in multiple locations (offsite, backup services included). This is the only way to ensure that if disaster strikes, you will be able to easily recover those priceless family mementos that define you as an individual and as a family!
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