Charleston, W. Va. -- All too often, when floods or other natural disasters hit homes and businesses, important records or precious memories are lost forever. However, with some advance planning those losses can be avoided - especially in the computer age.
For homeowners and renters, the most important possessions usually are vital records and photographic memories. One way to protect important documents is by taking out a safety deposit box at your local bank (assuming it's not in the flood plain!). However, few people place bulky photos in safety deposit boxes and they often are lost in a disaster.
Likewise, the loss of business's invoices and client information, if swept away in a flood, scattered by hurricane or tornado winds, or buried under earthquake rubble, could shut its doors.
Today, however, there is a cheap and easy solution to such problems. It's called CD-R, otherwise known as a recordable compact disk. Nearly all CD-ROM players on computers today are CD-R capable. Recordable CD's can be bought inexpensively.
For businesses, the solution is relatively simple, since nearly all documents are already in digital format. But once information is in a digital format, businesses or homeowners simply need to follow a computer system's directions for burning and copying compact disks (CDs). It all comes down to saving files to a CD and storing CD backups off-site.
For individuals with a digital camera the photos can be sent to a CD-R in one easy step. Even with a traditional film camera it's amazingly easy to get digital images. All photo processors deliver in both formats if you check the appropriate box.
For traditional family photos, there is one additional step. The photos need to be scanned into digital format using one of the many low-cost scanners on the market. Once the photos are in digital format they can be copied to CD-R's and stored off-site.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.