Filing CabinetHow safe are your community’s critical records from wind and floodwaters? Major (and sometimes even minor) disasters take their toll on the files your community needs to keep itself running, adding more challenges to the already overwhelming task of recovering from an event.

Two articles (below) explain why it’s so critical to protect your records and how to best do it. While they’re written for the general population, it’s not difficult to adapt some of them for municipal use.

Consider, for example, backing up important computer files to a remote location hundreds of miles away (and ideally inland) from your community’s computers, so no matter how large a disaster is, your records will be safe. There are many different commercial outfits offering this service: a quick web search for “online backup” or “remote backup” should get you started. Prices can be surprisingly low (or even free) depending on how much material you need to back up. If you’re concerned about security be sure to read up on how well items are protected on these sites. Keep in mind, that nearly all large businesses (including banks) back up their files, so it CAN be done safely.

As for the paper files, you could consider scanning the most important ones into your computer, or sending physical copies to a remote location. While this isn’t quick, consider the alternative of having to piece together records after a storm or other disaster.

Are your community’s records ready for a disaster? Are your personal ones? Let us know in the comments.

Disaster Preparedness for Your Finances,” MSN Money.

Pre-Disaster Financial Preparedness Checklist,” CreditCards.com.

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