My father was trustee of the local cemetery. He took his position seriously, including preserving the towns’ history. So much so that long before the fires of Black Saturday destroyed the township of Marysville. He had copied the original burial records and distributed 3 copies through the township.
It was unthinkable that ALL the houses in Marysville would burn. Sure 50%-75% but not 99% of every building in the township destroyed beyond recognition.
These ledgers contained the memories of the township – dating back to the first settler, right back to the late 1800’s.
My mother and father knew that Marysville would burn eventually; it was only a matter of time. No-one could foresee the extent of the damage and the complete isolation the town faced that night.
That night saw the destruction of all 3 copies of the burial ledger. The original only survived because of my fathers tenacity and his knowledge that other people besides his wife were sheltering in his home, the home he saved from the fires. Only metres from the road where the fire crews were forced to retreat or die.
When it comes to precious things, be it paper or electronic media – the only message I can (and do) drum into people is many locations, many formats, it could be something like a blog that disappears (as happened to someone this week) to precious family photos, to something like a public document. You can never be too careful.
Take as many copies as you can, spread them world-wide. Keep them electronically, keep hard copies, keep copies on media back-ups. But make sure you don’t only rely on once source of back-up.
Same goes for passports and similar – send copies to a friend in a sealed envelope, with instructions that the envelope is only to be opened on your instruction or death. Send your wills, etc in the same fashion.
Until you have been faced with the utter total devastation bought about by these fires, you think it can't and won't happen to me. Fine you may never be affected by a fire of such force and destruction BUT................ you may lose you phone, your hard-drive may fail.
Here are two posts with similar messages on my other blog . I don't care where in the world you are - remember everything fails once, even the best laid plans.
Back Up, Did I say Back-Up?
How Safe is the Data in Your Safe?