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Would Your Photos Survive a Hurricane?

Ironically, September is Save Your Photos Month, a program created to educate families about protecting photos from natural disasters. First Harvey. Then Irma. Natural disasters have destroyed far too many homes in our country this month. Before evacuating, what item do most people grab after their family and pets? Their photos. When cleaning up after a flood what is the first thing most homeowners try to salvage? Their photos. While most of my readers are in the Northeast, and were not directly affected by these catastrophic storms, a burst pipe, a fire, or a computer theft can happen to any of us. Harvey and Irma are sad reminders to disaster proof your photos, or as my dear friend in Tampa said while preparing for Irma “Don’t get caught with your pants down”.

I’m sharing two articles my colleagues at APPO (Association of Personal Photos Organizers) have written to prepare photos for a natural disaster and recover afterwards.

We Have to Evacuate! How Do I Keep My Photos Safe?

Top three takeaways:

  1. Back up digital photos to an External Hard Drive and to the Cloud. Take your EHD with you.

  2. Wrap printed photos, framed photos, and albums in two layers of heavy plastic bags and duct tape shut. Label with Sharpie “Photos Do Not Discard” and include your contact information. Put in plastic bins.

  3. Move bins to the highest floor in your home, preferably in a closed closet

What to do when Disaster Strikes Your Photos

Top three takeaways:

  1. Don’t throw away wet, muddy, or damaged albums or photos!

  2. Put wet photos and albums in plastic bags and freeze them

  3. Once thawed clean photos one at a time in room temperature water and air dry flat

It’s important to read the whole article if you are going to attempt this:

If your photos are still damaged, don’t give up hope. The image and memory can be preserved by photo restoration experts.

With any natural disaster, we should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Keep your photos safe and be prepared for whatever mother nature or lady luck has in store.


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