Quick References

Using Google Docs for Bug Out Scenarios

I’m a big fan of most of Google’s products and services, including Gmail, Calendar, and even Chrome. Recently, I’ve been looking into using Google Docs as a bug out option to better secure important documents that I would want to have access to in the event my family and I needed to bug out. Of course, using Google Docs wouldn’t work too well in a complete grid-down scenario, but then neither would a usb drive.

For years, I’ve kept a variety of hard copy information in my bug out bags, such as emergency contacts, financial information, as well as copies of driver’s licenses, birth certificates, car titles, and so on. I also keep the same information on a usb drive included in my bug out bags too (and now on my keychain). Lately, I’ve been contemplating home security more and I figured there was a real possibility of that information being compromised if it were ever stolen. After all, thieves may be more aware of the valuables in such bug bags these days. The last thing I would want is my identity stolen as well!

Anyway, the other day I pulled out my personal information with the intent of updating a few things. Then I got to wondering about using Google Docs. Specifically, I thought about removing a lot of the extra paperwork from my bags that I may want to have access to but are less likely to be needed (e.g., driver’s license copies, certificates, titles, etc). I figured this would be a great use of Google Docs.

While I still feel the need to include hard copy and even usb copies of basic emergency contact information, bug out routes, and so on, I figured there’s no need to compromise the security of my other personal documentsif I don’t have to.

Hello Google Docs!

While you can learn a few specifics here, the main points to know are that it’s a free service (if you have a free Google account already), you can store up to 1GB of files free (more storage spaces costs a small fee), and, most important, you can store nearly any type of file, including Microsoft documents, pictures, videos, and so on. Of course, you’re not going to store years of pictures or videos online for free, but you can certainly store quite a few and you can easily store scanned images of important documents.

That ‘s what sold me. I had always assumed that I couldn’t store other files types and that I would need to convert my Excel and Word files over to a Google Docs format, which I didn’t want to do. Now, I have access to any important files that I want, in the format I want them.

The use of Google Docs goes beyond bug out scenarios too. In the past I’ve had problems with wanting access to a file that I kept on my NAS (network storage server) at home when I was away elsewhere. So long as I keep a copy of the file on Google Docs then I can access it from any computer. There are other benefits that I have yet to use, such as online collaboration and document sharing… perhaps I’ll get into that another day.

The drawbacks, on the other hand, are the need for an internet connection to access files, but I figure that if the internet is down when I’m bugging out then the computer systems may also be down or, at least, not able to access their own internal networks, which is about the same as being down without power.

All in all, I feel that Google Docs would be a great option for most bug out scenarios. Think about it the next time you update your bug out bags.


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