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When Disaster Strikes

a destroyed piano lying in front of a destroyed house with an intact gazebo in background
Tornado damage May 2024 from Dallas Morning News

When disaster strikes will your documents and photos be protected? Can they be restored when they are soaking wet? What steps can we take be better prepared?

Memorial Day Weekend was disaster filled for neighboring North Texas counties when 3 separate tornadoes swept through before midnight. And Tuesday found me and my pets hiding in a closet when a tornado came within a mile of our house before deciding to turn to the southeast. And after the horrible windstorm in Houston on the 16th, thousands are still without power across a large portion of the state as people go through their destroyed homes trying to salvage anything.

Some of our most prized possessions are photographs of family members and events. Especially for us, the family historians! Are you ready for a disaster?

I will resume scanning my family documents and photos today (it's an ongoing project, I will admit). These days you can use your phone as a scanner (or just take a picture of the picture), so no need to go buy one if you don't already have a multi-function printer/scanner/fax. Wired Magazine likes "Picture Scan App" by Photomyne, you can read the article here.

Cartoon cloud with blue and green wires plugged in to the bottom.

If you have a Microsoft Subscription you can automatically save your photos, scans, spreadsheets, LEEDS charts, etc. to their included Cloud Service, OneDrive. Check other cloud storage services such as Google Photos or Google Drive too.

If you want to keep your head and photos out of the clouds, save your photos to USB flash drives or to CD's and store them in a safe place, such as a fireproof or waterproof locking box or safe.

There are a few different services that advertise they will duplicate your Video Tapes and photos in these ways as well, for a fee.

FEMA has detailed steps on their website about how to recover your wet photos, including all the supplies you will need to complete the process here:

What about your important papers, like passports, wills, birth certificates, etc.? Save these in a fireproof/waterproof box or safe. If that box disappears in the disaster (EEK!), the Government has another site with instructions and tips for how to get duplicates here:

Little girl in kiddie pool pink swimsuit and sunglasses floral floatie

Here's hoping your upcoming summer is full of only good things and welcome surprises. If I can help with your tree, send me an email for a free evaluation.

Best regards,

Leslie Ryan

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

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