15    Mar 20112 comments

Disasters: Are you ready?

While the world today knows all about the tragic aftermath of the earthquake in Japan, there were a few days when we were in the dark - literally.

We attended a conference in Colorado last week. After a five-hour drive through magnificent scenic vistas ranging from desert to snow-capped peaks, we had only a few hours to prepare and get to the venue.

The conference was busy, our colleagues focused on presentations, and we had not obtained Internet connection codes due to the heavy schedule. There wasn't time to read a newspaper or turn on the television - we were in a cocoon where the outside world didn't exist.

Finally, after two days, we managed to get online to check email, and we saw the terrible news about Japan's earthquake and the immense suffering of the people.

As a former Californian who has been through a few earthquakes, but nothing as bad as what the people of Japan experienced, all those thoughts came rushing back. The shaking, rocking and rolling is hard to describe to those who have not experienced such tremors. I can't imagine what it feels like to go through an earthquake of that magnitude, and our hearts, thoughts and sympathies go out to all those impacted.

No matter where you live, at some point you may be impacted by a natural disaster, be it a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, blizzard, flood, rain storm, tornado (or cyclone) or fire.

How do you prepare for such an event which can forever change the lives of inhabitants in a certain place?

To prepare for such disasters, contact local emergency organizations for lists of what families should keep on hand - just in case - as protection of life is always the most important element.

In addition to protection of life, we also might think about protecting our precious family possessions, such as photographs and research.

How can you protect those items against loss?

There are various methods. Scan photos and documents to CDs and send copies to relatives who live in other areas. Photograph family objects and distribute those copies. Prepare copies of family history and supporting documents and send them to relatives in other areas. No matter what happens where, copies of your research will be available.

While we all need to be prepared to protect our lives in the face of a possible disaster, take some time now to protect your research.

Here are two questions for readers:

  • Has the earthquake in Japan changed the way in which you will personally plan for a possible disaster?
  • What have you done to protect your research?

I look forward to reading your comments.

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