The number and frequency of natural disasters has increased in recent years, costing the country $91 billion in 2018 alone,1 yet less than half of Americans are prepared for an emergency.2 While painful and devastating, houses can be rebuilt, and many belongings can be replaced; however, family photographs and documents often cannot be recovered – the billions of dollars in damages do not account for these irreplaceable and priceless memories. As storm season approaches, Epson offers tips to prepare, including digitizing and organizing important photos and documents.
“Many people have lost their cherished photographs during natural disasters. When someone is forced to flee their home due to a fire, flood, or earthquake, the last thing he or she is going to think of is to grab their old photos. Sadly, most get left behind, and decades of family history are destroyed in a matter of seconds,” said David Hawkes, product manager, Scanners, Epson America, Inc. “Epson designed a scanning solution to tackle the daunting task of digitizing boxes of photos. Epson’s easy-to-use FastFoto® FF-680W scanner scans hundreds of photos in minutes, making it easy to share instantly online, on a computer, or on a mobile device. Ultimately, this solution digitally preserves the priceless photos in case of a natural disaster.”
The following are tips for getting ahead of the upcoming storm season:
Pack and Prepare: Storms, wildfires, tornadoes, and more can occur at any time. It is crucial to prepare ahead of time by finalizing emergency plans with family and roommates, including dividing up valuables to grab and go. Consider creating an encrypted USB drive with important photos and documents to store in your ‘go bag’ and update annually. The Department of Homeland Security also has a checklist for building disaster kits and ‘go bags’ as well as tips for emergency plans and communication.
Preserve and Organize Treasured Memories: Stay ahead of natural disasters by preparing early and using technology to digitize and preserve important photos and documents. With the Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner, users can scan thousands of photos – as fast as one photo per second at 300 dpi3 at up to 36 photos per batch, reducing the time spent scanning from weeks or months to just hours. In addition, users can scan photos and documents up to 8.5″ wide as well as Polaroid photos and panoramas. Furthermore, Epson’s unique FastFoto software restores faded photos with auto image enhancement and organizes scanned photos by date, year, season, and/or decade, making specific memories incredibly easy for the entire family to find.
Create and Manage a Digital Inventory of Valuables: In addition to digitizing priceless photos and documents, families can also protect their homes and belongings by keeping an up-to-date digital inventory of family documents, insurance records, photos, and passwords. While no one is ever fully prepared for a loss during natural disasters, taking steps to create and manage a digital inventory, and keep multiple copies in safe locations outside of the home, can help reduce stress in the aftermath. While this may also seem like a never-ending project, it is a worthwhile investment of time in the event a catastrophe occurs.
Be Alert: Check the local jurisdiction to opt-in or sign up for text and email systems for severe weather alerts in the area. In case of an emergency, officials will send out texts and emails about the events. The National Weather Service offers a list of alternative weather alerts here.
While natural disasters are unpreventable and usually unpredictable, families can take measures to reduce risks, protect the home, and keep everyone safe by preparing before emergencies strike.