Emergency preparedness is a relevant topic these days in light of the California wildfires and hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. This topic hit especially close to our family as my sister-in-law was evacuated from her home in early October because of wildfire. We are all so grateful that she and her family escaped with no injuries; unfortunately her home did incur some damage though and she is currently in the process of repairing and rebuilding her home. When the call to evacuate when out they had less than 30 minutes to grab essential items and leave. Needless to say, that’s not a lot of time.
When faced with an evacuation scenario some of the first things that people try to grab is their important papers and documents along with photos and memorabilia.
So how can you be sure that your important documents and photos are organized and ready if you need to gather them in a moment’s notice?
- Store all of your most important documents in one, safe place. I recommend a safe deposit box or if you prefer them at home, a fire-proof, water-proof safe will work too.
- Designate a trusted friend and family member as the keeper of your information. Give them second key to your safe and tell them where to find important papers if you’re not able to get them yourself.
- Gather original copies of important legal documents (such as birth certificates, investment certificates, passports, car titles, wills, trusts, etc.).
- Create a list of bank accounts, investment accounts and other important financial information (you don’t have to list all of the account numbers, but include the name of the financial institution and the type of account)
- Gather one copy of each of your monthly/annual bills (utility, credit card, cell phone carrier, student loan, mortgage company, insurance company)
- Copies of any and all of these documents can be stored online too. It’s always nice to know you have back-up when needed. If you are not comfortable storing documents online (in the cloud) then you can make copies on a thumb drive and give that drive to a trusted friend.
- Usernames and passwords can be stored separately from important documents. An online app is probably the best way to keep passwords safe and yet accessible.
- Photos are best stored online in my opinion because of the size of the documents. Here is a link to a list of trusted online storage solutions for photos. https://www.cloudwards.net/best-online-storage-for-photos/
- For additional help with photos, I recommend Julie Kessler at Picture This Organized http://picturethisorganized.com/
For more information about preparing yourself for an emergency check out these helpful sites.