If your home is damaged by a hurricane, flood or even a fallen tree, will your printed photos be safe? If you take the proper precautions before a disaster strikes, you can minimize your worry and preserve your favorite captured moments.
Most people have turned to online backup services for their digital photos. On these sites, you can safely store photos you no longer have room for on your phone. Many have chosen to print copies of their pictures and store them safely away at home. However, living in Florida requires that we take a few more steps to guarantee our irreplaceable photos remain safe and sound.
Back it up
In this day and age, documenting our lives via a smartphone camera and screenshots of tagged posts are how our best memories are stored. The downside? If you lose your phone, those memories have vanished forever. Make sure to use a cloud backup service, such as Apple iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive.
Scan Tangible Photos
Gather all your scrapbooks, photo albums, journals—and just about anything else you may have photos hidden in. Your next step is to scan the pictures to your computer. This way, you have the physical photos as well as the digital photos. To take it a step further, once scanned, you can add these photos to your online album.
Take more photos
Do you have hundreds of older photos laying around waiting to be scanned? Don’t fret—we have a plan B. If you do not have immediate access to a scanner, take pictures of your pictures. If a natural disaster is fast approaching, take photos of each album page and store the digital copies in the cloud.
Large plastic bags that seal closed or waterproof or watertight plastic bins with locking lids (or both if you’re OCD!) are ideal ways to store your photos to help keep them safe from potential water damage. If a storm is coming, place the container on a high shelf in an interior room of your home.
What should you do if physical or digital photos are damaged or lost in the midst of a natural disaster? Follow these tips to retrieve as many photos as possible.
Most printed photographs can be cleaned and air dried with these simple steps:
- Carefully remove any water-logged photos from albums, and separate any that are stacked together. Exercise caution, and do not rub or touch the wet emulsion of the photo surface.
- Gently rinse each side of the photo in a bucket of cold water. Do not rub the photos.
- Next, lay each wet photo face up on clean blotting paper, such as a paper towel. Do not use printed paper that could potentially transfer ink to your wet photos. Ideally, you should change the blotting paper every hour until the photos are completely dry. This process works best indoors. If you try it outdoors, the sun and wind will cause photos to lose shape and curl quicker.
- Try to deal with flood-damaged photos within two days to prevent mold issues.
- Pictures that are wet in frames need to be tended to immediately to prevent the photo surface from sticking to the glass as it dries. To remove a wet photo from a picture frame, keep the glass and photo together. Holding both, rinse with cold water, using the water stream to gently detach the photo from the glass.
Say you forgot to back-up the pictures on your phone to the cloud and your phone was water damaged during the storm. What are the next steps?
- Do not turn your phone back on, press any buttons or use a heat source to dry the device after it has been emerged in water.
- Remove any protective casing, batteries, SIM or microSD cards from their slots.
- Lightly dab the phone dry with a cloth, and then bury the phone in a Ziploc bag full of uncooked rice to absorb the excess moisture.
- If this doesn’t work or you think you need a professional’s help, contact a phone technician.
- One way to ensure all your smartphone photos are backed up to the cloud is to utilize a program such as Dropbox. Dropbox lets users back up photos automatically anytime the phone is connected to Wi-Fi rather than needing to remember to upload photos yourself.
- Remember to keep your phone locked in case of theft. When protecting your privacy, you should use a password, fingerprint or touch ID to lock your phone. This will prevent someone from opening your phone and deleting your photos.
Sources: huffingtonpost.com, thoughtco.com, usatoday.com