Preppers know that you need to have backups for essential and emergency items; but do you have a hard copy of your phone contacts?
Do You Have a Hard Copy of Your Phone Contacts?
I was re-reading one of my older posts To Print or Not to Print, and that got me thinking about the digital data I have, beyond my ebooks and survival binder.
It was only then, that I realized, that the only copies of my important contacts, were digital.
Sure, I had a copy in my email provider's webmail and a copy on my phone, but what if there was an emergency, and my phone was broken? What if there was an EMP or mass coronal ejection, and my part of the country had no electronics? How could I call my loved ones, family, friends and important contacts to relay information?
This was a huge shortcoming in my own preparedness, so tonight I fixed that!
I decided that I needed to have a hard copy of my phone contacts in a couple different places. I would keep a small copy in my wallet, I'd have a couple copies at home (in my safe and another spot), I'd keep a copy at my parent's or in-law's home, and I'd hide a copy someplace in the trunk of my car.
This sounds like a good plan. It's got to be way better than storing all my data digitally.
Exporting the Data
I logged into my gmail, where most of my contacts were stored for my Android Phone and then clicked into my contacts. There I found the menu option to export my contacts.
I knew that I'd want to use a spreadsheet application, like Microsoft Office Excel, LibreOffice Calc or OpenOffice Calc, so I could properly format this data, in the way I wanted. I chose to export my contacts as a CSV (Comma Seperated Values) file, that would easily be recognized by my spreadsheet program and would allow it to lay out the data correctly.
I know had this sizable spreadsheet, full of data, sorted neatly into cells. I needed to prune out some of this data, just to have the essentials I needed.
I removed the entries for people, places and businesses that I wouldn't need in an emergency. I removed the non-essential fields like birthdays, anniversaries, job title, position, address and anything like that. This was just going to be my emergency phone list, so those items just weren't important.
Since this is an emergency list, I decided to add some contacts that I might need, but didn't have, since I could find them on the internet when I needed them, under normal circumstance. I added the local police department number, our county sheriff, the fire department, our local power company, water company, gas company, animal control, poison control, my boss's home number and a few other emergency numbers.
Then I did some copy and paste magic to format the spreadsheet into 2 "columns" of contacts, for easier printing.
Printing it out
Full Size Copies
For the copies, that would be stored at home, or my parent's/In-Law's homes, multiples pages wouldn't be an problem, so full sized copies would be fine.
For my Auto copy and my EDC copy I wanted something a bit smaller.
For the Auto copy, I just tweaked the print options so it'd print 2 spreadsheet pages on a single piece of paper. That seemed about right.
I decided to experiment and took it a step further and tweaked the print options further so it'd print 4 spreadsheet pages on a single piece of paper. I had a great sized copy now, and since it was 2 columns, I was able to fold it in 1/2 to make a double-sided, small list.
I laminated the copy, that was going to be hidden in the car, and put it in it's secret spot, in the trunk.
EDC (Wallet) Copy
I wanted a copy of this to fit in my wallet, and not be a bulk,y folded piece of paper. so when I printed my EDC copy, I once again changed the print options so it'd print 6 spreadsheet pages on a single piece of paper.
That print sure looks tiny!
When I printed this copy out it was tiny. I was still able to read it, if I looked carefully. Then I remembered that I keep a Fresnel Lens in my wallet, for emergency fire starting, using the sun. A Fresnel Lens is simply a flat, credit card sized magnifying glass, and when I used it to read my tiny EDC contact list, those names and phone numbers were clear as day!
To top it off, my Fresnel Lens, that lives in my wallet, behind my drivers license, has a clear plastic sleeve to protect it. I just slipped my laminated EDC contact list into that sleeve for safe keeping.
In this digital age, it's too easy to rely on the internet or our cell phone to act as our phone books, but what if electronics fail or the internet isn't accessible? Without a hard copy of your phone contacts will you be able to call your important contacts to relay information?