Have You Thought Of?


by “The Coach” (Contributing Editor)


How well have you thought out what to bring/pack with your gear should you have to evacuate or bug out of your residence in an emergency or imminent major disaster?

Sure you have a well thought out Bug Out bag or similar named bag that you can grab and go. You may even keep a well-stocked bag in your vehicle at all times. These bags should have EVERYTHING that you may need to survive for a minimum of two weeks. But you already know this and if you are like me having gone over that bag many times rethinking what you have packed and what you may need to pack in the bag.

But have you really thought of everything that is important?

One night a couple of years back, my wife observed me going over our bug out bags. I asked her to join me and give me her opinion as to what I may have forgotten or she may think we needed to add. So she sat there with me. After I completed going through our bug out bags I asked my wife, whom I will call Maria, (not her real name) if she could think of anything that I have forgotten or anything that may be important to her to take with us.

Maria thought about it for a second and said, if we had to evacuate for a major disaster or a major emergency and the possibility existed that our house may be destroyed or we might not be able to return home, the one thing that I would want is all of our pictures; our high school pictures, wedding pictures, pictures of our children as they grew up, vacation pictures, pictures of our relatives, etc. She said, if the house and all of our pictures were destroyed, we would never be able to replace them. They are all of our memories of years gone by.

Maria was right. I told Maria that I would work on it and see what I could come up with.

We have a lot of pictures both hanging on the walls of our home, in photo albums and in boxes in the attic. It would be impossible to pack all of the photographs and still have room for any need equipment and food if we had to Bug Out. The time to gather all of them would be prohibitive should we have to leave in a hurry.

Then I started to think about how to organize all of our photographs and then thought about all of our important documents. Documents like our wills, house title, house and vehicle insurance policies, life insurance policies, deeds to our other properties we own, bills of sales, firearms records and the list seemed to be endless.

I then looked around our home and thought, how would I prove to our insurance agent what we owned if it was all destroyed.

As fate would have it, one day my eldest grandson, Mathew who is 13 years old, happened to be at our house and asked what I was doing? I explained my dilemma to him. Mathew said why don’t you digitize everything and put it on a memory stick (thumb drive). Memory sticks take up almost no room; they are light weight and can hold a lot of information.

thumbdrive        That was the answer I was looking for. I went with my grandson to Wally World and purchased a computer printer/copier/scanner. Along with the printer, I purchased one (1) 64 Gigabyte thumb drive.

I returned home and installed the computer printer/copier/scanner. I took one of our photographs from the wall where it was hanging, placed it on the copier/printer/scanner, plugged in the thumb drive and copied the photo to the thumb drive. I took the thumb drive from the printer/copier/scanner and checked the image that I had just stored on it. The image appeared to be perfect.

I took the thumb drive over to Wally World and had a photograph printed off of the stored image. Fifteen minutes later I had an exact copy of the photograph hanging on the wall of our home.

I went back home and showed Maria the photo I just had reproduced and explained the process. Maria was satisfied with the results.

Now the work started, I digitized every photograph that we had that would fit onto the printer/copier/scanner. Then I digitized all of the fore mentioned documents.

I then took my digital camera and took photographs of every wall and closet in our home to document our belongings. Then I composed a Word document that listed all of the items in our home, of value, TVs, etc. their full descriptions and serial numbers.

Everything fit on the thumb drive.

I keep the thumb drive in a small zip lock bag, in my wife’s bug out bag.

Now if we evacuate/bug out, when my wife grabs her Bug Out bag the thumb drive is in it and she has all of the pictures and important documents that we need and want.

It is a simple process to update the thumb drives when we take new photographs, purchase new items or receive renewed insurance policies.

Yes, it takes a little time to accomplish the above task but the benefits outweigh the time.


NOTE:  I DO NOT receive ANY compensation of ANY kind, from ANY company, for mentioning ANY product, named in ANY of my articles. I write about products that work for me.



You can’t fix stupid!

But we can surely vote them out of office!

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5 thoughts on “Have You Thought Of?”

  1. An excellent observation. In addition to the photos, I’ve copied all of our legal documents (wills, medical records, property titles, automobile titles, insurance policies, passports, driver’s licenses, bank debit and credit cards (both sides), and a few of our love letters and my poetry). In addition, I’ve made two paper copies of our driver’s licenses, medical IDs, debit and credit cards, and passport, then enclosed them in plastic. One set goes in each BOB. In a disaster, those things will make it easier to deal with authorities who won’t be tolerant of folks who say “I don’t have xxx”.

  2. Great idea for storage of documents. I also took pics of the actual weapons and the serial number stamped into it. I also have all of my professional licenses, certificates and such so if I needed to volunteer at a disaster shelter I can prove my skills. The other obstacle that might be the fly in the ointment is an EMP. Check Radio Shack or a computer store for the pink anti-static bags or find a small tin to keep the thumb drive in to protect from EMP and possible water damage from heavy rain or other submersion. If you make 2 or 3 of them, you can leave one with your children/grandchildren (password protect them) so if you have an issue with one you have another elsewhere that you can count on as backup.

  3. I would suggest getting a second thumb drive and copying all the data from the original drive on to it. And don’t keep them in the same place. Remember one is none, two is one. If something happens to the original you will have a backup. Great idea about scanning the ancillary documents too. Excellent information.

  4. Excellent way to store information. I’ve done the same thing, along with two very large memory sticks with EVERY THING on each I’ve also have several smaller ones. One with just my pictures, one with just my documents, one with pictures of items of importance to me that are in my house (for insurance reasons) and one with a video to each of my children telling them my final thoughts and love for them (just in case). Of the smaller ones each of my kids have one and I keep one. Each of the smaller ones are of the same color for each type of what they hold and the ones the kids have are security locked with their middle name.

  5. E-readers are excellent for storing AND BEING ABLE TO ACCESS information at a moments notice. Documents can be scanned into them as .PDFs and easily accessed as needed.
    I’m often asked about their security and “falling into the wrong hands.”
    The following is not absolute, but it is my opinion with lots of thought behind it.
    I believe that e-readers are more secure than most items (computers, laptops, “hard” documents, smart phones) that would allow you to access the data for several reasons.
    1. Most e-readers are relatively cheap. Thieves are trying to make a buck, so with other items available, the e-reader is going to be one of the last to be taken.
    2. E-readers are usually run with their Wifi turned off to conserve power.No Wifi, no hacking. E-readers are also less likely to have viruses downloaded as they aren’t used to surf the web.
    3. E-readers are much smaller than a laptop or computer and often smaller than most tablets. As such, they are easier to store in a coat pocket or purse than left out on a table or require their own carry bag.
    4. “But all the documents are open for everyone to see if they get a hold of my e-reader because it has no password.” True. So hide it! Download the Bible and scan your documents in as a PDF. Now insert all your documents and insert them within the Bible document starting at page 398 (or whatever page). Or insert it into War And Peace. Or a technical manual on contagious spores and fungal infections. Just hide it in a document that is most likely never to be read and hide that document among hundreds or even thousands (mine is good for about 3,000 books WITHOUT having to use the SD card) of other books. E-readers don’t usually have Search functions for words even if a thief knew to look within books for secret info.

    Additional pluses…..
    5. Their battery life is often good for a month without having to recharge with moderate use. A major benefit in a grid down situation.
    6. They can usually be recharged with with a small recharger or solar charger as they don’t require the higher amps to charge them like tablets and laptops.
    7. The document is immediately on hand for viewing. Need to prove to the Deputy that you do own property (Bug Out Location) past his roadblock? Show him your scanned Deed of the property. Need to provide your insurance agent with your policy info while on the phone parked outside a shelter because your house was swept away? Pull out the reader and look it up.I’m sure you all get the point. The likely hood that someone is going to allow you access to their computer for you to look up something or even prove your identity or legal access is remote. Absent of having the paper documents, the e-reader is likely to be your best option on a screen large enough to actually read the info on the document (or am I the only one that now needs glasses to read text messages on my smart phone?).
    Good luck to all!

    Never, EVER Give Up!


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