Disaster Preparedness: Technology Can Preserve Records

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Release date: 
November 23, 2004
Release Number: 
1555-070

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- All too often, when floods or other natural disasters hit homes and businesses, important records or precious memories are lost forever.

“The most important possessions people lose in a flood usually are vital records and photographic memories,” said State Coordinating Officer David M. Sanko. “If a business' invoices and client information are swept away in a flood, this loss could contribute to a permanent shutdown.”

With some advanced planning these losses can be avoided. One way to protect important documents is by taking out a safe deposit box at a bank. However, few people place photo albums in safe deposit boxes, and they often are lost in a disaster.

In today’s computer age, there is a relatively inexpensive and easy solution to such problems. It's called CD-R, otherwise known as a recordable compact disk (CD). Fortunately, nearly all computers today are CD-R capable.

Once information is in a digital format, businesses or homeowners simply need to follow a computer system's directions for burning and copying. It all comes down to saving files to a CD and storing it off-site.

If you have access to a digital camera, photos can be sent to a CD in one easy step. Even with a traditional film camera, you can get digital images from your photo processor.

There is also a way to preserve traditional family photos. Scan them 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's and stored in a safe place.

“Nothing can be done to save precious photographs or valuable records that were destroyed in the floods of this past September,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Nick Russo. “But if you plan ahead and copy what you have onto compact disks, you can be secure in knowing that they will not be lost in the future.”

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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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