Preparing for Disaster
Reported June 2007
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- More than 50 percent of Americans live near a coast or fault-line that puts them at risk for hurricanes or earthquakes. Many more live in areas where tsunamis, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods happen. Victims of these events often have to piece together their homes and lives.
Dan Margolis, from Coral Springs, Florida, witnessed the fury of Hurricane Wilma and his house took a beating. "We began to notice leaks coming in from various parts of the ceilings," Margolis says. It's that kind of damage Dan's insurance won't pay for. The problem was he didn't have pictures of his house before and after the storm hit. "And when we submitted our claim, they're like, 'Well, we need to see proof," Margolis says.
A professional imageographer went to Dan's home to photograph and document the home, in case it happens again. Zachary Goldberg, the Chief Technology Officer for Arkiva, says, "One of the things that you definitely want to do is safeguard all the assets in your home." Using digital recording equipment, important documents like passports and birth certificates can be scanned and stored. Even personal photographs can be saved. Each item is given a date stamp, so you can send it directly to your insurance adjustor. The service costs $299 for a home visit and about $8 a month to maintain. That includes 250 photos, up to 200 documents, and up to 2,000 of your own pictures.
Dan has some valuables only he considers important, but still wants to make sure they're covered. He treasures his Ohio State football jersey. Although, "First time I wore it to a football game, we lost to Northwestern," Margolis says.
Since CD ROMs, cameras and hard drives can fail or get lost in a disaster, Arkiva posts the images on a secure website. Only the customer can view the contents, which are stored in Florida, Virginia and Texas. "So, you really have three back-ups of your data. If for any reason, the data center in Dallas, Texas should fail, we actually have another server that would be up and running in about less than a minute," Goldberg explains.
It all sounds like common sense and we all know we should do it, but how many of us have actually taken the time to do it? If you want to document your valuables yourself, make sure you back up your hard drive and give a CD ROM copy to a friend or family member who lives in another state. "That piece of mind. I don't know how you put a price on that. You can't," Margolis says.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Toll Free 1.888.8ARKIVA (888-827-5482)
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