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by Freebies4Mom on August 21, 2008 12:26 pm

Are you prepared for a disaster? Most of us would answer “No”, but as Moms having a disaster plan in-place for our family is important. It’s a way to help us care for our family no matter what happens. I want to introduce a resource to you called and tell you how I learned about it. My friend Tanya introduced me to the website and the Dad who started it, Patrick Krupka. I actually even met Patrick at a function both our kids attended, and was excited to hear that he had started this website to help families prepare for natural disasters. is a service that provides you with a secure place to store information. Patrick offered to let me try the service at a discount, and I discovered that the beauty of this website is that you choose exactly how little or how much data you want to store in your secure account. Guidelines are provided for what type of information is typically most useful. It makes so much sense to have all this information in one place, with secure access by the internet, and could even be extremely useful for minor incidents like losing your purse. I do want to point out to you that while this service does charge an annual fee, Patrick is offering my readers a discount code (see bottom of this post). And there are free resources worth checking out to help you prepare for a disaster. I’ll let Patrick tell you more about his website and the services he provides, and I hope you will ask him any questions you have by leaving a comment here:

This is a guest post by Patrick of

We’re all aware that we should have plans in place to respond when disaster strikes and affects our families and homes. Some of us have gone so far as to prepare a disaster kit to keep in our homes or cars. Few, of us though, have really thought through and prepared for effective recovery after the disaster hits.

The daunting task of managing and recovering after a fire, tornado or other disaster wreaks havoc on our lives can be made far smoother by just taking a few easy steps beforehand. The simple act of securing vital information gives peace of mind now and eases recovery later. It’s like that old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Imagine you’re in bed asleep when you’re suddenly awakened by your smoke alarm. As you jump out of bed, you can see and smell smoke in your home. You rush to get your spouse and children and run out the door. You do a quick head count and then turn around to see flames shooting high out of your attic. The fire department arrives quickly, but the damage is severe. You and your family are there in the street with nothing but the clothes on your back. Do you have your wallet? Where are your ID, credit cards, bank account numbers? What about your insurance policy, your mortgage company’s phone number, your marriage license, birth certificates for your family? Where’s your home inventory? How will you put your life back together? How will your family recover? provides a simple and secure way to safely store all of your important information and copies of any important documents. You can access your data on our highly protected servers via any Internet connection in the world.

Our user-friendly Web interface walks you step-by-step through creating your home inventory, emergency wallet cards, customized family disaster plan and more. It then provides you with a menu of useful reports of all of your stored information.

Take these simple steps to protect your family. Relieve the worry about disaster striking and make the recovery smooth.

I’m Patrick Krupka, Founder of, and I’m proud to offer our service to readers of Freebies 4 Mom at a special 20% discount. You’ll get one year of unlimited access, updates, downloads, and disaster preparedness information for only $39.96 (regularly $49.95). Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’ve planned for the unexpected, and protected your family.

Please use discount code MDP4mom when you visit our site at

I hope that this will inspire you to talk to your family about your disaster plan and take some time to explore this website to learn more about what you can do prepare for the worst. If you have any questions about creating a disaster plan for your family, please leave a comment here for Patrick to answer.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 24, 2008 at 10:12 am

This is a great service. I went onto the site and put in my information. I thought it would take a long time, but the site walks you through each step and if you don’t have the information handy, you can return at a later time and input it. It didn’t take long at all. And, the peace of mind that I have now that all my important details and documents are in one place, should a disaster occur…is a huge relief!!


Mr. Spock August 22, 2008 at 12:32 pm

I have read the posts by Anonymous and I want to offer an comment:I recognize that he (I am assuming he is a he) is obviously technically sophisticated. And as a result, he can identify and use approaches that may be more efficient.But my Mom lives in Florida as well, and she is in her 80’s, and can use email and “surfs the web”, but she is not going to be able to deal with secured archives etc.I have forwarded her the link to My Disaster Plan so she can look at it because it is something she can handle.However, she is pretty independent so she will make up her own mind. But I would not feel the need to “do it for her” on this site.


Morningstar August 22, 2008 at 12:23 pm

I am a very organized person and I have spent a lot of time setting up files for my family’s important information. But we recently had a fire in our neighborhood and I saw what my neighbors were going through to get the papers they needed to replace many of the things they had lost.I realized that my highly organized files could become useless if we had a similiar fire.I have looked at My Disaster Plan and I think it would a great way to store my files so that they would be protected. As my neighbor’s fire shows us, you just never know!


momteaching August 21, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I think it sounds great! My aunt had her purse stolen when she was out of town. It looks like you can even store credit card and bank contact information here so you wouldn’t have to go searching for #’s to report stolen cards. I have started putting in some of my information and it seems easy so far. Now I will be ready for a hurricane or a purse snatcher!


Anonymous August 21, 2008 at 9:32 pm

Disaster is something that I don’t think about often…but really should. I browsed through the site and appreciate the level of detail and walks me through all the things I need to capture.


KMac August 21, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Okay…LOVE IT! I thought I new what I needed to be “prepared”, but when I went through this site, I realized that there were a lot of things I didn’t think of. Heather, thanks for posting this. Super cool!


Patrick K, August 21, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Lynn & Heather, When you click on the link and choose the fact sheet that interests you, you'll find a concise bulleted outline that was derived from multiple sources. I worked to gather the suggestions and information from FEMA, Red Cross, National Weather Service, my personal experience, and a few other sources to put the best of all of those in one simple document. As Heather pointed out, these are in the free, public area of the site…the most important point of all of this is that everyone…especially those of us with families…must be informed and prepared.Now about the reports; we provide multiple reports that you can either print-out, or download to a flash drive or CD for safe keeping. If you download, we have a password option to secure your files when you store them. You can generate a property report, ID report, financial report, disaster plan summary, and emergency wallet cards. On our home page you can see examples of the property report and the wallet cards.


Heather August 21, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Lynn – Take a look at this link: for the free resources I mentioned in my post. It’s about how to assemble your own Disaster Kit and “Go Bag” plus some basic information about different types of natural disasters. The main reason I was interested in sharing this website with you was to make my readers more aware of the importance of having a plan and doing some preparation. For the few readers who are seriously interested, I hope they will use the coupon code provided to save a little bit of money on this service.I live in hurricane country, and it is very scary when all eyes are on the Gulf trying to guess where the hurricane will land. We actually once evacuated voluntarily a little early because we simply were uncomfortable waiting to find out what turn the storm would take. Th decision was made with only a few hours to pack. We only took what we needed, leaving all our important documents behind with no copies elsewhere. We were lucky the storm never hit – but now we know what it is like when you have to make that decision to leave your home. You don’t have time to think about anything but getting out – gas stations are out of gas, ATMs are out of money, grocery stores are out of bottled water. I’ve seen it happen and it’s scary. I want to be more prepared for the next disaster (or near disaster) because as I’ve learned it takes very little to start experiencing shortages even in a huge metropolitan area like Houston.Thanks again for the comments everyone!


Lynn August 21, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I looked through the site and like it. It seems comprehensive and straightforward. I do my taxes and banking online, so am comfortable how the security side works. I don’t really get how the reports work, though…And since we’re all here for what’s FREE, what are the free resources Heather mentions?


Patrick K, August 21, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Ananymous, I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree about this, and obviously our service isn’t the best fit for you.


Anonymous August 21, 2008 at 3:44 pm

I think you’re misunderstanding my security concerns. If someone wants to hand all of their personal data over to some random company, then that is certainly their right. But I would never encourage it. It basically boils down to trust versus convenience.As for paying large amounts of money for software, none of that is necessary. Nor should gathering preparing the information take any more time than it would doing it via your website.


Patrick K, August 21, 2008 at 3:18 pm

The Rackspace outage that Anonymous is referring to involved a motor vehicle accident that took down a power grid serving one of the Rackspace data centers. Their emergency power kicked in while one of their chillers was recycling and knocked the chiller off line. After 30 minutes or so, they had to move a few servers to a part of the data center with additional chillers. They have since dealt with the issue and this can’t happen again (although it was quite a fluke to begin with) and our servers were completely unaffected. I appreciate your point of view on the security issue, but from our research we find that most of the servers used for off site data back-up services are secured by the same “best practices” that we employ.As for “hand-holding”, I see it more as professional guidance, not everyone can or will spend hours creating their own documents to be archived, though I did it for years before developing this site. For example, the software for creating your own home inventory (just part of our site) can easily cost over $100, and doesn’t provide for off-site storage. For the IT professional there are a multitude of options available for disaster planning and preparedness. For the rest of us, there’s


Anonymous August 21, 2008 at 3:00 pm

“no power issues, no downtime for this or that upgrade, etc.”So, you can assure us that an outage like Rackspace had less than a year ago will never happen again?As someone with a background in computer science, I’m not denying the importance of security. I’m saying that this is NOT the best option. I personally don’t feel your service is secure enough, and I would rather cut out the middleman.I guess for someone who requires handholding every step of the way, they may be willing to accept less security and greater cost.


Patrick K, August 21, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Anonymous:As I mentioned in a previous post, security is important when dealing with this type of information. While I agree that the security surrounding the website itself and the transfer of information is of greater importance than the physical security of the server, I would like to mention a couple of points.1. Customers need to know that their information will be accessible when they need it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…no power issues, no downtime for this or that upgrade, etc.2. They need to know that the server holding all of their sensitive information isn’t in some guy’s garage down the street, vulnerable to theft or vandalism.3. The need to know that these servers aren’t vulnerable to the same disaster they themselves are experiencing. That’s why the comments on physical security are important.As for uploading files to a file storage service…that’s absolutely a viable option for disaster preparedness. The benefit of our service is that it provides a step-by-step process to guide people through deciding what information is important to have accessible. We also provide a customized disaster plan, emergency wallet cards for family members, our disaster plans meet all of the suggested criteria from FEMA, Red Cross, etc. Once your information is entered in our website, you can either print or download summary reports in PDF format (password protected if you like) that can be opened on any computer. This makes it much more user friendly for someone who doesn’t want to start from scratch designing their own wallet cards and information spreadsheets.There are lots of different options for preparedness…we’re just trying to streamline the process.


Anonymous August 21, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Ugh. I would certainly never do this. It’s cheaper and more secure to upload an encrypted archive of your data to a service like Amazon S3.And this: “Physically, our servers are guarded 24 hours a day by both human and electronic surveillance, fire suppression, climate control, power redundancy, and procedural security measures.” doesn’t actually mean a whole lot.


Patrick K, August 21, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Folwer…That’s the most common question we get, and it’s a good one. With the type of information you’re storing on our servers, it has to be kept secure. We use Rackspace as our hosting company, they’re one of the best in the business and they keep our servers in bunkered facilities physically protected by redundant fire supression systems and climate control, and security set-ups like something out of mission impossible. We are also protected by SSL encryption so your information, as it’s transmitted to and from our servers, is encrypted. When you see our site, you’ll notice the “McAfee Secure” symbol on the right (formerly known as “Hackersafe”). Basically we pay McAfee to try to hack into our site on a daily basis to make sure no one can get through. We take your security VERY seriously, your information is safe with us.


Flowerpower August 21, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Wow. I never really thought about this. I can see how it would be good in case we had a fire or got robbed (heaven forbid!) How do I know all my personal info is safe being stored online, though? And how do I access the information once it’s stored?


Mr. Spock August 21, 2008 at 1:22 pm

I went to My Disaster Plan today: we live in the Florida area and are a bit concerned about hurricanes.I found it easy to use, and what impressed me most is that I get to decide just what I want to store there and can leave out anything I want. Or I can add to it later, so I can get the most important stuff out there right now, and do the rest later.My wife and I were discussing how difficult it can be to get copies of things like birth certificates when you were born “out of state”. With this site’s ability to capture a scanned document, that will no longer be a problem.Just remember to hangon to your ID and password, and you can access your data anytime, any where, even a local library!We feel just a bit more secure now when the weatherman begins to get all excited about the next big storm. We know we can recover vital information and documents afterwards.


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