Silver lining in fire tragedy

Monday morning’s fire that completely destroyed two buildings that contained three businesses was an utter and complete tragedy.  Any structural fire–or other related disaster–that destroys what someone has built with their bare hands over decades–or claims a life or lives, like we have seen already this year–is tragic.
While visiting the site on Monday morning, I spoke with an employee of one of the businesses.  This person told me that her boss “lost everything related to the business, including computers, hard copy files, office equipment and, just everything.”  The owner was able to rescue some of his personal items that were inside an office, the employee said, but everything else was lost.
Of course, my next question pertained to accounts, billing information, things that needed to be paid, payroll and employee related files and the like–as in, did you have security measures in place for an event like this?  The answer: Yes.
This company had the foresight to plan ahead and back up their most important business-related digital files off site.  It’s something similar to what we’ve done here.  And, it’s a lesson that everyone in a small business needs to take to heart.
BACK UP YOUR FILES!  Yes, this digital age can be a pain in the neck at times.  ‘The world runs on computers, now’ is a statement I hear nearly every day.  Some folks found out Monday morning that the small investment they made is now paying off.  Plan ahead today and back up every detail of your business off site, just in case.  Insurance can replace a structure, but it cannot bring back lost files.
On a related note: The Courier burned in 1976.  The owners lost all of the previous archives of the newspaper and lots of other stuff in the fire.  Luckily, the Hazlehurst Library has copies of those issues–and all issues since–that were lost.  We’ve taken steps to make sure that doesn’t happen again.  And, we could be up and running within a couple of days because of our planning and security measures.
We are thankful that no one was hurt or killed in this most recent structural fire.  Knowing the owners of the businesses affected, the will be back on their feet in little time.  Continue to pray for them.
Joe B. Coates

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