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The 5 "P"s and You

Photo by City of Cajon, CA / Monica Zech
Chuck DeLaney, Director, NYIP - The Colorado Waldo Canyon wildfire and the host of other fires in Colorado and elsewhere this summer has prompted many reminders of preparedness for an emergency
evacuation, including the advice to grab the five “P”s on your way out the door:
  • People and Pets
  • Papers (passports, other identification, deeds, contracts)
  • Prescriptions
  • Photographs
  • Personal computer
Some advisory bodies omit personal computer and count people and pets as separate items, but we think the latter two belong together as important family members. What jumps out at us is the “P” that stands for photographs. It’s true that in this digital age a lot of those photographs may be enshrined in your personal computer and/or stored in the cloud, but unless you’ve been a serious scanner, chances are the older photos in your home – parents, grandparents, other ancestors and memories of times long past - exist only as prints.

Naturally, how much gets taken by people who are forced to evacuate depends in large part on the length of time of any advance notice. Tropical storms and wildfires may provide a day or more of lead time, while earthquakes offer little or no advance warning. Some years ago, there was a period when the Santa Barbara area in California suffered a series of wildfires and a wedding photographer friend of ours told us of the number of calls his studio had received from worried clients who had left their wedding albums behind and lost them. He had all the negatives (yes, it was that long ago) for all his customers stored in fireproof surroundings.

As photographers, we know how important photographs are. Perhaps you can provide a cautionary reminder to your clients about making sure their precious photographs are at hand, and perhaps you can offer a scanning service to make sure those really old prints are converted into digital form and perhaps backed up beyond the “personal computer.”

Cloud-based storage could be used as a backup, not just for photographs but for other papers and documents as well. A memo to your customers outlining the options and offering to assist them could bring in business and provide an essential service at the same time.

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