In Case of Fire: Back up!

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I recently attended a Boy Scout camp at Scofield Reservoir in Utah. My car was “tagged” for not backing into my spot high in the mountains of the Spanish Fork Canyon. In pink chalk, the directions said – “turn around” – this due to the wildfire dangers of the camp.

When I called my wife from the camp, I was surprised to learn about a massive fire near our home in Lehi. It burned for four days, destroyed more than 6,000 acres and forced thousands – including some of our friends – to evacuate for two days.

The following week 300 Scouts from the merit badge camp at Scofield were evacuated because of a new wildfire that is consuming more than 23,000 acres. Backing our cars into the parking spots was the least we could do to follow the Scout motto, “be prepared.”

Photo of the Seely fire near Scofield Utah - courtesy Inciweb.org

Photo of the Seely fire near Scofield Utah - courtesy Inciweb.org

Today, the skies over Provo are again filled with smoke and ash.

Meanwhile, in Colorado Springs, tragic wildfire has displaced tens of thousands, has consumed hundreds of homes and continues to rage.

Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by this disaster. I feel blessed to have camped last week instead of this week.  Just a few weeks ago, we were in beautiful Colorado Springs for the Family History Expo.

Natural disasters prove the point that we must always be prepared for such events. Today, Dick Eastman posted yet another post about backing up our files. Amazon was brought down over the weekend from storms. In another post from Dick an online backup company went down due to an illegal operation of sorts. (Read more here) What to do – have multiple copies of your files in multiple locations.  As Dick said today – “By the way, all hard drives WILL crash someday. The only question is “when?” Make your backups today.”

Are you prepared?  Just as the Scout camp asked us to prepare in small ways – such as backing cars into the spots to save time if we had to run for it – we can all do some things to prepare.

Have you taken the few minutes needed to walk around the house, with video camera in hand – and record your possessions for insurance purposes? Do you have thousands of photos, documents and more sitting in your house or office? What’s your plan in case of evacuation? What will you grab first?

The safest place to back up your files is in the “cloud” via online backup. Make sure you’re using a reputable company.  At MyHeritage, all our members have the option to back up their tree data and photos. Our servers are solid – but we have a backup just in case. Remember that if you choose to use the backup, you can always return to an earlier file version just in case something goes wrong.

Here are a few ideas to prepare for a disaster.

  • Sign up for an online backup service – for your entire computer.
  • Walk your house and garage with a video camera. Open all doors and turn on the lights. Record everything in the house so you have proof of what you own for your insurance company.
  • Scan, scan, scan your photos, documents and more. Save them to your computer and then in the “cloud.”
    • Although some researchers don’t like this idea – you can make quick copy of many images even if they aren’t at high resolution. A low resolution copy is better than no copy at all. Save more time-consuming high resolution scans for another day; at least you’ve duplicated them already – just in case.
    • Don’t let all those years of hard work go up in smoke, if disaster strikes!
Seely Fire Utah - image from Inciweb.org

Seely Fire Utah - image from Inciweb.org

We send our heartfelt best wishes to all of those affected by recent and current wildfires. Be Prepared and have backups as you never know when disaster will strike.


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