What Would You Do?

As I was eating lunch in my kitchen the other day, I gazed out the window and noticed my neighbor's tiki torches lit up in their yard.

And yet, no neighbor. Anywhere.

I kept looking around but nobody else was outside. My mind went from wondering, "What if no one is at home right now?" to "What if one of those torches somehow gets knocked over and starts a fire in the neighborhood?!"

Fortunately, I saw my neighbor walk out just before the panic attack in my head got too far out of control. But it got me thinking...

What would I grab from my home if there were a fire?
Besides the people in my life, what is most precious to me and irreplaceable?

As cliché as this may sound coming from me, my family photographs, albums and videos were what instantly came to mind. (Also on my list are my children's favorite stuffed animals, my journals, and the wedding band I got married in.)

1.  Make It Digital

I've said this before but it bears repeating - do everything you can to scan all of your old photos onto a CD or file on your computer.  (There are even now photo scanners at Target!) If you don't have the time or inclination to self-scan, try an online site like ScanCafe that scans your photos (and now home movies) for you and sends them all back on a CD or DVD.

At a minimum, keep all old photos in an archival safe or even airtight plastic container - something that is easy to grab in case of emergency.

2.  Take It To The Clouds

Once your memories are digital, take it a step further with cloud computing, a computer network that you can access from anywhere online.  Various services allow you to save your files to a network "in the clouds."  Though you access the files from your home computer, the actual files are not really in the clouds but stored and backed up in a completely separate and safe physical location. To give you a better idea, it looks something like this:

One example of a cloud computing service is Carbonite.  This software program that you download to your computer automatically makes copies of your files, mirroring your computer's files - you "set it and forget it." You can access those files whenever you need to wherever there is an internet connection.

Another example of cloud computing that actually archives your files is IDrive.  It allows you more control over how and when you back up files and can keep your files archived for as long as you need them.

I actually use both of these services, along with having the photos I have yet to scan all together in a large plastic airtight container.  It definitely helps with my peace of mind.

The question bears repeating - what would you take if you suddenly had to leave your home and all of your belongings? Take a moment to think about it.  Make a list, and think about your back up options if you haven't already.  It never hurts to be prepared.