Friday, August 26, 2011

Something to Think About....

We interrupt this book blog to bring you a public service announcement....

Seriously, what with earthquakes and dangerous hurricanes taking up a large part of the news lately, I thought it might be helpful to pass along a little bit of advice that has been learned through first-hand experience.

With many past mandatory evacuations due to hurricanes and recovering from the most catastrophic one, Katrina, I've learned a few important lessons that may be helpful to you in general, not just in the event of a natural disaster.

I tend to be a very organized person, so I didn't have a tremendous amount of difficulty in gathering the important things in life when we had 24 hour notice to leave before Hurricane Katrina hit -- but for those people who had documents in haphazard, unorganized places, I can imagine they were left leaving empty-handed or in a frenzy doing last-minute searches. The lesson here: Have a central place in your home where all your important documents are kept (life insurance, home insurance, health insurance, titles and deeds, passports, credit card info, certificates (birth, marriage, etc..), financial info, wills, and make sure you have a COPY of all this documentation! You want to file all the copies of this vital information in one type of file folder or container that you can pick up and leave with on a moment's notice. Having copies scanned to a disc is fine, but you also need hard copies. If you have a waterproof/fireproof home safe, it's even better to store your copies here. It's also a good idea to go room by room in your house and take a picture -- this is important documentation of your valuables in case of theft, fire, or water/wind damage. File the disc of photos with your vital info. *****Keep your originals and your copies of documents in two completely separate areas of your home.***** If something happens to one set, you still have another set of copies for backup in another place.

Many people lost everything -- everything -- during Katrina. Houses, furniture, tv's, cars, jewelry, clothes, etc.... You know what really hurt and caused the most distress? The lost wedding photos, the baby pictures, the portrait of a beloved family member that was ruined by the water. The lesson here: Material things don't matter in life, but sentimental things that are irreplaceable are heartbreaking to lose. Do you have backups of your photos, wedding albums, baby pictures, family pictures, etc...? If you have priceless family photos that were before the days of digital photography, make scans of one-of-a-kind photos and save to a file and backup with a cd or some other type of backup service. The disc can be stored with your documents as mentioned above. I took my entire wedding album and my children's baby books with me when I evacuated because they were well before the digital age and I had no copies, but I have since scanned them in the event I have to evacuate again. Heaven forbid!

Believe me, I hope you never have to experience a catastrophe, but no one is immune to the dangers of a house fire or a dangerous weather situation no matter where you live in the world. Start implementing a plan to organize and safekeep the important documents and photographic treasures that you value and it will give you great peace of mind.

If you live on the east coast of the U.S., stay safe!


Yvette said...

Great advice, Joanne! Thanks. I'm in inland NJ, so I think the most that will happen here is some flooding, lots of rain and downed trees and such. Hopefully we won't lose our electricity.

Joanne said...

Hi, Yvette -- I do hope you are spared any damage from this hurricane...I'll keep my fingers crossed that you won't have the inconvenience of lost electricity. Be well!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tips - I'm in Massachusetts and my parents live in Connecticut so we are likely to be battered by this storm. We are still working on cleaning up from the tornado in June - this has been one hell of a year that I am certainly learning from. First year away from home has been intense! There are definitely things I have learned from the tornado that I am putting into place with this hurricane.

Joanne said...

Hey, dolleygurl -- I'm sorry you have to experience some more bad weather, but being prepared ahead of time is KEY. Stay safe and hope to hear from everyone again soon, blogging about good books instead of big storms!

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

SUCH great advice. We lost similar things when I was little due to our dishwasher popping a line and flooding into our finished basement that my parents kept as an office. VERY sad stuff. Though most of our pictures and things around 10 times backed up on several different computers, I do have some things I need to secure. Thanks for this!

Anjuli said...

This was excellent advice!!!! It doesn't matter if it is a National disaster or some other event which might suddenly come upon us- your advice is pertinent!

Favorite Period Dramas

Mount TBR

Joanne's to-read book montage

On a Highland Shore
A Light on the Veranda
The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
The Edwardians
Maisie Dobbs
Howards End
Lady's Maid
Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

Joanne's favorite books »