Friday, August 17, 2007

Crafters' Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricanes, as we all know, are serious, and we need to be serious about how we prepare for them. As crafters, we do not want to see our creations destroyed, however, we may be faced with having to leave some things behind should we evacuate. We would like to give you some tips on how to best prepare things relating to your crafting.

Create an identification tag to be stored with your photos in Ziplocs*. This identification tag should have your full name, cell phone number, and e-mail address on it. If you are comfortable with it, you can put your mailing address on it, however, most people are easily reached by cell phone or e-mail these days. Laminate the I.D. tags if you have time.

Place ALL photographs into Ziploc bags (NOT the generic brand, these need to seal tightly), with an I.D. tag and a couple packs of desiccant or silica powder in each one to absorb any moisture that may be in the air inside the bag when you seal it. Remember to keep out at least one photo of each family member and pet (with you in the picture with your pet) to bring with you.

Place groupings of these smaller sets of photos in Ziplocs into a larger gallon-sized Ziploc, also with a couple packs of desiccant and an I.D. tag.

Take all of your photos (and memorabilia, too, if you’ve got it packed) and place them into a heavy-duty black garbage bag, which you should tie shut with a strong cord or zip tie. Take regular shipping tape and wrap it tightly over the cord or zip tie, several times. Place this into another black bag, and wrap it up the same way. Remember to include an I.D. tag in the black bags.

Place the entire black bag with all of the photos and memorabilia into an airtight (if possible) plastic or rubber container, or at least a bin with a snap-on lid. Using shipping tape, again, tape around the entire bin in one long continuous pull of the tape, wrapping at least twice.

Store these bins at least 4 feet above floor level, preferably on an inside closet shelf.

If you must leave behind albums, seal them up the same way you did your photographs. Ziploc makes Big Bags, which fit even bedding and clothes in them, so your albums should fit very well. Tape these bags shut across the seal, with shipping tape, and then finish protecting them as you did your photos.

If it floods above the 4 feet, the bin should float up. If the roof is torn off and the bin is blown away, wherever it lands, whomever finds it should be able to identify the owner (you), and your items should be safe and dry.

When you evacuate, you should always bring with you all birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, name change documents, passports, social security cards, and the declarations page of every insurance policy you own (homeowner’s, renter’s, auto, boat, etc.). You should also have a list prepared ahead of time with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of ALL of the physicians that you and your family members are being treated by. Also make a list of every medication being taken, with the name of the person taking the medication, the doctor who prescribed it, the full name of the medication, the strength, and how it is supposed to be taken. Note any other special medical or physical needs that you or your family members may have.

Don’t forget your pets. You need to bring vaccination certificates for each pet, along with any medications or special needs items they have, just like for your family members. List the pets’ names, veterinarian’s name, address, phone number, and medications on the same list as you put your medications.

Laminate this document of medical information, as well. For safekeeping, make another copy of this document, laminate it, and give it to another family member in case you lose yours.

While there are no guarantees in life, the above tips should help to protect your photos and memorabilia.

*Ziploc makes Double Guard Freezer Bags in Medium and Large sizes that are essentially a bag in a bag, with a double zipper. These are recommended, but you can use regular Ziploc bags if you cannot find the Double Guard bags.

This information was the collaborative effort by Dee Famularo and Marlane Mayo.


  1. thank god I am able to bring all my things, but I learned during 2005 to pack it up in May and just work out of boxes 6 months out of the year. this info is great. Just remember to look at the bottome of the plastic bax and make sure there are no cracks. I left one box and lost a very sentimental birthday decoration for my first son, thank god I have all the original ppics, but I still hate that I lost the finished product. thanks for the information Rebecca

  2. My plastic bins have air vents in them. Wouldn't that prevent them from protecting your stuff?

    I'd probably go farther and put a white ID label on the outside of the black bag and tape over it, just because if for some reason the bin left the building (got blown away, etc.) and crash-landed someplace, the bag would just look like a bag of garbage, and I wouldn't think anyone would open it to see what was inside. =/

    Good tips, though. :)

  3. Thanks, Natalie. Good point about the ID labels on the OUTSIDE of the bags, too. If your bin has air vents in it, place the entire bin into a big black bag (they do make them big enough), and then seal it up as you did the others. As you stated, make sure to put some sort of ID on the OUTSIDE of that black bag, though, to differentiate it from garbage.