Marlyville / Fontainebleau / Broadmoor Preservation
post-Katrina and beyond...








how to



disaster prepardedness

9 feb 2006

Emergency Preparedness: Online Document Storage

I have been actively implementing another aspect of my personal emergency plan: online storage of documents and presentations.

If one stores their documents online, the necessity to be near a specific computer or file cabinet at the time of an approaching disaster becomes much less important. You can access all of your important documents from any internet-connected computer anywhere you are (unless you are already dead.)

I am currently storing all of my licensure information, board certifications, automobile and home insurance information, titles, CME, health information (I created a self-generated medical summary), list of prescriptions including Rx numbers and dosage, presentations, papers, articles, valuable photographs, financial information, birth certificates, tax records, investment information, W-2, etc. Just about anything that you would put in a physical file can be uploaded.

The procedure is as follows:

1. Create a specific free Google Mail account for this purpose at and use a long, difficult password for the account.

2. Purchase a USB flat-bed scanner by Epson or Canon (or many others) for approximately $100. Install the scanner to your internet-connected computer. A cable or DSL connection is best but not essential.

3. Scan in all relevant paper documents and save the files to either JPEG (.jpg) or Adobe PDF (.pdf) formats.

4. Save the documents to relevant file names such as "State Farm Homeowners Policy 1-31-2006.pdf" or "John Doe Resume.pdf"

5. Email each of these documents as an attachment separately to your specially created Google Mail account with a relevant subject line such as "Toyota Automobile Registration 1-31-2006". Make sure you use relevant key words and as many as possible.  You can put key words in the title and in the message body too.

6. Anytime you need a specific document, just open your email account and you can use the Google search window/engine to locate that document using key words.

Although this procedure may sound a bit geeky, it really is not very hard especially once you have done it a few times. I would be happy to help anyone set such a system up.

Email me with any questions.

I can also send you an invitation to a free Google Mail account if you would like.

Jim Zachary
4146 Vendome Pl

email me with any neighborhood news, editorials, or disaster preparedness