Why to digitize pictures BEFORE a mandatory evacuation

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.

emer2 300x260 - Why to digitize pictures BEFORE a mandatory evacuation 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.

emer1 300x190 - Why to digitize pictures BEFORE a mandatory evacuation

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 was gridlocked. I grabbed the family and pets as immediate evacuation orders were broadcast.


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.

emer4 300x161 - Why to digitize pictures BEFORE a mandatory evacuationAfter safely evacuating, I saw my house on live local and national TV news programs.

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.

Urgent Advisory Hurricanes Wildfires - Why to digitize pictures BEFORE a mandatory evacuation

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?


–Story by Mitch Goldstone, CEO, ScanMyPhotos



The ScanMyPhotos Story