Photo above: View of the North California fire aftermath: a house pool near Santa Rosa on October 9. Photo source: CNN.com
5700 homes destroyed. 40 lives lost. The latest estimates suggest 100,000 people were under evacuation orders in Northern California. When raging fires loom, people frantically grab the things they hold dear; relatives and pets, cash, passports, jewelry, and other valuables. But no one thinks about reaching for those old photo albums as the blaze draws near because, in the human life-versus-photographs comparison, the answer is obvious.
It’s only a few days after the fire has moved on, leaving the house in utter wrecked and ash havoc, that people realize the extent of their lost property. Analog photos and old photo albums often constitute the only hard copy of a family’s important events and stories. But unlike burned walls and furniture, those hard copies cannot be re-created or recovered after a fire even if you’re reimbursed by insurance companies for the damage.
Preventing the loss of your family’s most important memories is fast, easy and above all, an absolute necessity. Don’t wait. Here’s how to secure your analog assets (documents, photographs, and other forms of memories) in just 3 easy steps:
1. Get your scanning on
Whether you want to keep a digital copy of important documents, paperwork or photographs, the scanning options are plenty. See which of the scanning options below work best for you:
DIY SCANNING TOOLS
For project lovers. This is the cost effective option.
- Your phone’s camera (a slow process that requires manual cropping)
- Free scanning apps designed for documents: CamScanner, Tiny Scanner, Evernote Scannable
- Free scanning apps designed for photographs: Photo Scanner by Photomyne (iOS / Android,) PhotoScan (iOS/ Android)
SCANNING SERVICE PROVIDERS
For procrastinators. The more expensive option.
- Photographs, VHS, camera film digitization: ScanMyPhotos.com
- Slides, film & video, photo & negative scanning: ScanCafe
- Documents and paperwork: Docufree
2. Send it all to the cloud
Once you’ve got digital copies of your most important analog valuables, the next obvious step is to back them up, and to ensure they are easily retrievable from any device. Conventional hard drives are just as vulnerable as the important documents and photographs you’re looking to secure. So a different approach is needed here.
The best way to keep ‘forever’ copies of your digital files is by saving them to the (or a) cloud. Here are selected cloud service providers you should explore for general file dumping:
- Google Drive — designed primarily for documents, but feel free to dump any other files you want. Free plan includes 15GB, space upgrades available.
- Dropbox — Same as Google Drive, and works well with photos and other media as well. Free plan includes 2GB, space upgrades available.
- Microsoft OneDrive — For MS Windows groupies, this service offers the same cloud storage and backup services offered by Google Drive and Dropbox. Free plan includes 5GB, space upgrades available.
Designated cloud for photos
In case you chose the Photomyne app option for digitizing your old photos, consider subscribing to the Photomyne account. If you’ve already invested time in scanning analog photos with the app, you should know the account offers unlimited cloud backup, account sync across iOS and Android devices, and online photo access from any device.
3. Peace of mind
Once you’ve got all those crucial analog assets digitized and backed up, you can take a deep breath and relax. This gives you one less thing to worry about, should a disaster like Northern California’s should strike your neighborhood.
Prevention is key, but our inclination is to be absolute procrastinators. In reality though, it’s all too easy. Stay safe.