Disasters Affecting Our Homes and Possessions

Disasters Affecting Our Homes and Possessions

Those who know me know that I am usually prepared.  Overprepared.

Whether it is showing up for my speaking engagements with every possible cord or adapter combination…or when working on a genealogy or photo project that has multiple redundancies of everything important saved offsite and in the cloud…I am usually the one with a plan.  And a back-up plan.

I recently listened to a presentation by The Family Curator on disaster preparedness.  It covered the usual perils like fires, floods, tornados and earthquakes–you know, things that wreak total havoc.  As I pondered the presentation, I made a mental checklist of everything I had backed up that could be recovered after a total loss and decided I was in pretty good shape.

But this week I experienced a new kind of unexpected disaster.  A micro-disaster in the grand scheme of things:  a ceiling collapse in my home.

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It is unfathomable how much damage can be done by a mere 5×5 foot section of drywall, or more precisely, the blown-in fiberglass insulation that came crashing down 20 feet from the attic along with the water-logged drywall.

Dust.  I hate dust.  But now my entire home is covered in a thick film of attic dust from the debris that catapulted into all of the living spaces in my second and main levels.  It makes breathing difficult.  It makes your skin and eyes dry and itchy.  And it is completely unsafe for kids and pets to walk on the floors or touch anything.

IMG_4972It makes me sad to see what I’d normally consider insignificant things–like the dogs’ favorite toys–now covered with debris.  Sure, the dog toys can easily be replaced for a few bucks, but it stirs a deep sentiment that was previously hidden under the surface of the subconscious:  a sense of loss.

Being displaced from your regular living space makes you think about things.  You can’t follow your normal routine, you can’t have a meal in your own home, and you certainly cannot access any of your treasured family photos or memorabilia.  Your office becomes a lawn chair on your front porch where you can at least breathe fresh air.

The clean-up efforts began today and will continue for several more days.  Next will come the restoration efforts that will take several weeks to patch, repair and repaint.  And then life will go on.

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I now have a new appreciation for those who have gone through major disasters.  Although my family’s inconveniences are only temporary, life will eventually return to normal after a few weeks.

As I continue to ponder, I have some questions for you to consider:

  • When faced with the threat of a disaster, what would you grab and take with you if you only had a few moment’s notice?
  • If you must leave bulky items behind, how can you protect them from water or debris?
  • Do you have your most precious items stored in a location that is out of harm’s way, in appropriate containers to protect the items from common disasters?
  • Do you have supplies and tools on hand to immediately clean up a disaster or prevent further damage?
  • If you cannot access your originals, are backups readily available?

If you can’t immediately answer these questions, don’t you think it is time to put together your own disaster preparedness plan?

Please comment if you have ever experienced a loss of sentimental family photos, heirlooms, or other information, whether physical or digital.  What did you do to recover?



First Annual Save Your Photos Day Event

It’s only 2 days until the first annual Save Your Photos Day events take place worldwide on Saturday, September 27!

Last year, as a founding member of the local Memory Preservation Coalition, I helped to spearhead the volunteer recovery efforts to assist Colorado flood victims in recovering their water-logged and muddy photos, albums and videos. In all, over 80 volunteers helped to restore 20,000+ photos, videos and treasured memorabilia at 4 difference “rescue centers.”

In the last year, Cathi Nelson, founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO) had a vision to establish a worldwide annual event dedicated to preserving photos and other family memorabilia. The Memory Preservation Coalition members shared our expertise, along with other similar groups that had responded to disasters such as the Joplin, Missouri tornadoes, and the Save Your Photos Alliance became a reality.

There are over 60 events happening in the United States, with 2 being hosted in Colorado in Lone Tree and Boulder. I’m proud to serve as one of the organizers of the local Colorado events, and will be presenting several educational topics at the Lone Tree location (Memories to Digital, 8481 S. Yosemite in the Home Depot shopping center).  Click the map to find other locations.

SYPD Event Map

At the Colorado locations, there will be a series of 7 short educational presentations that repeat in the morning and afternoon.  While the presentations are ongoing, there will also be free photos scanning of up to 25 loose prints sized 8.5 x 11 or smaller (fragile or special handling items may be scanned in lesser quantity if others are waiting).

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Why participate in a free Save Your Photos Day event? Watch this short video clip to find out.


The original press release was posted here.  Help spread the word…and hope to see you at the event!

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