House-fire Photo Call

The other day a woman told me she had to evacuate her house because there was a fire raging in the woods behind her neighborhood. The first things she grabbed to throw in the car were the framed photos from her walls. The photos of her family, her wedding, her friends and pets were the most precious things to her, the items she reflexively moved to save from a fire that could destroy her entire home. 

I have always been quite nervous about a house fire happening to my home. There have been way too may close encounters with fires in my life. Twice, fires have started at neighbors’ houses right outside my bedroom window. A huge wildfire burned over 30,000 acres and dozens of homes four years ago, and came within a flame lick of the dream house my parents built in the Arizona mountain foothills.

This woman's experience got me thinking again about how could I be prepared to save family photos in case of a fire.

The American Red Cross says you may only have two minutes to escape a fire in your home. Stopping to grab any possessions, especially the family photo collection, would be unwise and dangerous. But there are many precautions you can take with your photos and important documents to ensure they are backed up and safe.

Redundancy in backup copies is the best solution to recovering any photos or memories if lost in a fire or other disaster. Digitally convert any media and scan your most important photos and documents.

Store backup copies on a hard drive in a location other than your house, like a safe deposit box or at work. A second backup should be stored on an Internet cloud-based service. Store original documents and extra hard drives in a certified fire- and waterproof safe.

Real accidents and disasters occur every day. The woman I know was extremely fortunate and the fire was extinguished. She was able to return to her home and rehang her photos on the wall.

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