We Have to Evacuate! How Do I Keep My Photos Safe?
If you’re looking at evacuating ahead of a storm or other natural disaster, there isn’t time to scan your photo collection. You need to focus on ensuring the safety of your family and preparing your home as much as possible.
What To Do Before The Storm Hits
Here are some basic steps you can implement before the storm hits to give your photos the best possible chance of surviving the storm dry and intact.
Backup your computers and hard drives, including your photo collections. Keep a copy of your backup secure in the cloud. Bring your backup drive with you, and store another copy at a friend’s house that is out of the storm’s path.
Find Your Photos
Do a sweep through your basement, first floor, and garage. Do you have boxes or bins of memories stored there? Are your albums on a low bookshelf or coffee table? What about framed photos on walls or mantles? Gather them up so you can protect them. Children may be able to help with this step.
Protect Your Printed Photos
Wrap photos in double layers of plastic, sealed tight. This could mean zip-top bags or a plastic garbage bag sealed with duct tape. Smaller baggies secured inside a larger garbage bag is a good system. If any of your frames have sharp edges, pad them, so they don’t rip the bags. Don’t forget to LABEL THEM. As an added precaution, you can put the wrapped packages in a plastic bin.
Plastic bins may be water resistant but are not water tight. Floods can lift and carry heavy boxes, and can tip them over, so the water gets in. Make sure everything in the bins is wrapped in plastic. Do NOT put your photos in your dishwasher like a popular meme suggested last year.
You can put a few desiccant packs (like the ones that come in shoe boxes) in the container, making sure the photos are wrapped up separately and protected from any chemicals.
Get To Higher Ground
Move the bins of wrapped up photos to the highest level of your home and choose an upper shelf of a bedroom closet or any closet on an upper floor. A closet will keep bins from floating around or tipping.
Above all stay safe, and we wish you all the best as you weather the storm and its aftermath.
If your photos do end up water damaged photos, read more here about preserving them safely.
Kathy Rogers loves photos and the stories behind them. A professional photo organizer since 2012, she brings lessons learned from her own elder-care journey into her business, to ease the burden for others in a similar situation.
As the Photo Organizing Coach, Kathy provides smart business tools and advice to other photo organizers in addition to helping people in Baltimore, MD preserve their photos and share their legacies.