During a mandatory evacuation, are you prepared?
When you have seconds to escape, what do you grab from your home? What would you do when a briskly spreading firestorm with hurricane-force winds threatens your family and home?
Thirty years ago, we chose Irvine as the home to ScanMyPhotos.com. It ranks among the safest cities in the nation and boasts a world-renowned master plan to protect homes and businesses. Our corporate headquarters is safely situated in a secured part of the city–far away from the scene of Monday’s danger zone.
For myself and a third of all Irvine, California residents, there was scarcely time to nestle people and pets–two of the three “P’s” [people, pets, pictures] and escape.
There was no time for racing through the house to find photo albums and boxes of long-forgotten pictures.
This preparedness message is shared for anyone who never experienced a menacing wildfire or hurricane disaster that threatened their home.
A piercing, life-threatening emergency warning alert whooped on my phone. With smoky ash raining down, the wildfire storm was real. Embers swirled, and the stench of smoke hurt your lungs. A dark haze made visibility impossible.
Roads were blocked, and traffic gridlocked. I grabbed the family and pets as immediate evacuation orders were broadcast.
[Credit: KTLA-TV News]
This was not a test of the emergency broadcasting system but a real-world catastrophe. Overhead, I saw water-dropping helicopters and giant aircraft tankers unloading water and Phos-Chek fire retardant. The gale-force winds made direct water drops a challenge.
The good news is our valiant firefighter heroes in Orange County, California, saved the day without any property damage. Sadly, two firefighters were critically injured.
This perilous experience is a reminder about what we have always discussed. The last thing you should worry about is your decades-past pictures, 35mm slides, film negatives, home movies, and VHS cassettes.
All must be digitized and stored off-site. Make multiple copies for safekeeping. Where are your photographs, and what about everyone you know? Are your family and friend’s irreplaceable snapshots digitized?