I just recently returned from working in the trenches of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. One of my best friends, Ann Hewlett, and her husband, Spencer, are currently over 130 missionaries for our church in that area and after being evacuated via boat three days earlier, they called me on Thursday August 31st with news that their rambler was completely flooded (almost 5 feet of water) and their vehicles and mission office were also flooded. They asked me to come down immediately (I got on a plane that night) and document the smiles, sweat and service of the volunteers with the aftermath of Harvey. I also was able to work in the trenches for several days.
I’m anxious to share some of the heartache and miracles I witnessed, but this blog post is about having a plan for your albums and photos.
I was the first volunteer in the home below. It’s hard to even write about the shock I felt as I walked from room to room. Total devastation. As I carried load after load of ruined stuff to the front yard, I realized it was all “stuff.” I was sad throwing it all away but knew it could be replaced.
Then came the photo albums, precious documents, random pictures, journals, and the list goes on. Most of the photos were in magnetic albums and crumbled when I tried to take them out. Some of the wet photos were so old, I knew it was the only copy. My heart was broken and I did what I could (spreading them on the ground) to save some of the memories.
Images of these lost memories have literally haunted me since I’ve been home. It’s helped me reevaluate where my albums are stored in my house and what kind of backup I have with my pictures. Here are some tips to help disaster-proof your precious albums and photos.
- Be proactive. My friends, Kristen and Wendy, who were affected by Hurricane Irma yesterday in both Tampa and Naples, put their albums in plastic bins, then moved them to higher ground. The top bin is waterproof and lockable with a rubber gasket seal on it. Be sure to store all your precious treasures on the TOP shelf of the TOP floor of your house if they need to stay in the home.
- If you have been flooded and have wet photos in albums, quickly take photos (with a phone or digital camera) of the damaged photos. It’s absolutely better than not having the memory at all.
- Don’t just rely on the cloud–back your photos up through a third-party service! I love the photo storage options on http://www.heritagemakers.com/LisaBearnson. The Heritage Makers system is amazing for making current projects that allow you to share the passion of your family photos through beautiful heirloom finished projects. You also have the added benefit that your projects and photos are stored and retained for you on your account. Heritage Makers also has a system in place where if for any reason (such as a natural disaster) you do loose precious photos, you can contact Heritage Makers and a PhotoSafe Archival Disc, designed to last 1,000 years and holds 4.3 GB of data (1,500 to 3,000 images), will be sent to you. This disc will contain the photos you’ve uploaded to Heritage Makers. Also, when you create a project on Heritage Makers, it is ALWAYS stored. You can easily reprint your books, stories or any other creations you’ve made. It you are on club at Heritage Makers, you get 25 GB for unpublished photos (those not used in a project) and unlimited on published projects. That’s a lot of precious memories that can be saved and trusted safe! You can instant message me on FaceBook at Lisa Downs Bearnson if you want to know more or go to the above website.
- Printing out your photos is also a great way to back up up your memories. https://www.snap2finish.com is a new brand where storing photos, creating projects and printing photos is a literally a snap! Contact me on FB for more information.
- My pal, Becky Higgins, also wrote a very detailed post on Memories + Natural Disasters. Go here to read it.
- I’ve read that putting memories in a dishwasher is not waterproof or safe. Just an FYI.
Please know I love you and I love memories! I’ve had so many friends affected by the recent hurricanes and two of my children and my daughter-in-law are in harms way in Georgia as we speak. Be safe and find someone to serve!