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It’s Time to Preserve All Your Documents – Just in Case

With the possible exception of the California man who saved his BBQ ribs from a house fire in 2015, life and limb tend to be more important than possessions in an emergency situation. Of course, this is just common sense. documents copies

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The loss of our items can cause significant distress for victims, which inevitably brings up the question of whether householders should make the effort to safeguard their things. 


For technology, this means creating back-ups, shifting photos to the cloud or a social network, and/or buying spares. Less important things, like paper documents, rarely factor into this conversation, largely because nobody prizes their bank statements over their computer. Unfortunately, as documents can be the sole preserve of our identities, letting them get destroyed is generally unwise. 

So, what’s the solution? A photocopy is just as likely to wear out as the original, so some sources recommend that everything is either scanned or photographed and saved to a USB drive. For example, the ExpressVPN website includes documents as one part of its tech survival kit, a bug-out bag that serves a number of different purposes in an emergency, including communication and data storage. 

In the latter case, budding survivalists should include a portable OS, external solid-state drive (SSD), SD cards, readers, and any necessary adapters. Copies of passports, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and property deeds can be saved in digital formats on a flash drive. Add insurance information to assist with finding support if something is damaged, like a car.

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As a bit of a warning, it’s worth noting that there are plenty of storage mediums out there that are a poor choice for use as backup drives. Ignoring the extreme end of this scale, i.e. floppy discs and tapes, standard hard drives only last about 5-10 years. A page of statistics assembled by WebTribunal notes that they also have a failure rate of 0.93%. This figure might sound insignificant but, in the US, that’s still 3m dead hard drives per year.


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Do copies of documents actually have any value as emergency replacements, though? After all, it’s not currently possible to get some forms of ID without original documents. The answer is still yes. These copies aren’t intended to replace lost paperwork but to make it easier to get a replacement. The U.S. Government insists that all citizens copy their passports for this reason.

Don’t forget to store items and files that might be useful, too, like passport photos, as you’ll need them to get a replacement. Of course, all preserved documents are useless if they’re stored with the original pieces, simply because they’re likely to be lost, destroyed, or stolen at the same time, so keep them away from each other. If you have the option of a home or hotel safe, it’s best to store either the copies or originals here.

Overall, it’s important to make sure you have a backup plan for several different scenarios, not just if your BBQ ribs burst into flames, as reported by CBS.





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Driven by wanderlust and a passion for tech, Sandra is the creative force behind Alertify. Love for exploration and discovery is what sparked the idea for Alertify, a product that likely combines Sandra’s technological expertise with the desire to simplify or enhance travel experiences in some way.