Almost every cell phone has a button labeled ICE (In Case of Emergency). If you were unconscious and can’t dial loved ones in an emergency, someone else can do it for you. So I’ve often thought I should have an emergency box for our home and now realizing it’s even more important when we begin full time RVing in a couple years! If our RV were to catch on fire, we only have moments to get us and our prized photos and important documents outside to safety! If we were away I’d want those important things protected from fire and water once fire crews arrive. So the best thing I could do in the event of a future emergency is to build an ICE Chest.
- Photos, we have so many they would be hard to carry. I’ve started scanning all of our old photographs and negatives onto the computer. Not only to preserve them but, to have them handy no matter where we go. I’ve got my screen saver pointed at our main photo folder which has become a big motivator to keep scanning.
- Important Medical, Tax and other financial documents scanned and organized. Using Google Chrome I’m able to save all receipts as PDF, I love that feature! Online financial statements can be downloaded in PDF format. All other important paper documents I’ve started scanning into PDF format. Why PDF? It’s compact if you need to send via email and so much easier to print than other formats if you ever need a paper copy! Once we start full time travel, there could be times when we need those records and a portable hard drive takes very little space in the RV once scanned.
- Don’t forget to back up the Smartphones! I know so many people that lose everything and the data on there has become just as important as home computers. It’s easy to plug them into the USB port of a computer and do a full backup to a folder there. Android, iPhone, they all have options to backup to the computer and that’s cheaper than extra space on the cloud. Then, make that backup plan into a routine along with the computers.
Jewelry and other personal items you would hate to lose to fire, flood or worse! Be sure to put these in a small lined container that prevents damage to/from the other items in the ICE Chest. If you have a lot of jewelry, better to keep only what you use often in the ICE Chest and find a safer place for the rest so you don’t need a crane or dolly to carry it (just imagine trying to get that down the steps of an RV!).
How big of an ICE Chest ?
Once everything is in the ICE Chest, that chest needs to be easy to carry out in an emergency! Keep size and weight to a minimum on the inside of your ICE Chest and make sure the ICE Chest itself is secure, compact and light weight. Heat and water resistance is great and if you place it where you can get to in a hurry, that reduces how heavy and how much fire/water protection it needs to provide, keep it light and easy to carry! I’m thinking the best size will hold legal size papers in one compartment, jewelry and a couple portable hard drives in another.
How much and what kind of ICE?
I now have more than one portable hard drive so I have multiple copies just in case there’s a computer failure. One device has a copy of photos and personal records that I can add to as my collection grows. The other drive should have the three most recent backups of the computer itself (which also provides another backup of documents and photos). We have two laptops, so I’m going to have two portable drives for each computer and these days they really are cheap insurance (I’m finding two computers on one drive is eating up space too fast). And remember, backup drives are no good if you don’t have a weekly or bi-weekly routine of backing up your data. Keep in mind, these multiple drives are what I keep with me.
Keep that ICE fresh!
When we go out of town, I take one single backup drive to work and store it in my desk (just in case something happened to the house). Once we begin full time RVing, I will have one drive with a backup of everything and I’m thinking I would send it to one of my kids for safe keeping. In the event I need it, they could ship it to my current location. And last, practice, practice, practice! Once I did a few backups, I didn’t need my notes and it’s become a worthwhile habit!