When you ask yourself “Am I prepared?” often you’re thinking about food, water, shelter, etc, but what about important documents? Some of us have safes that are fire-resistant to a certain temperature for a specified duration of time and we keep our valuable documents (birth certificates, financial paperwork, etc) in. In an emergency situation that would impact the power grid or would otherwise cause you to have to leave your house, do you have the means to take that safe with you?
Well in the event I couldn’t take a safe with me if I needed to leave, I have prepared myself an “emergency notebook” that is light, water resistant, and easily accessible. It was very simple to put together, the hardest part was just sitting down and compiling all of the information. I have put together a list of what I keep in my notebook, but it is by no means perfect or complete. Keep in mind, too, that you will need to update this frequently as account numbers, licenses, and photos could change often. You could do one notebook per person (which is what I recommend so that each person has all of their information on them should they be separated for any reason) or you can compile into one.
Where to meet
When to meet
Who to contact
Routes to destination from each starting location
Maps of the area (print for free from online sources)
Emergency Contact Phone Numbers and Addresses
Home address and phone number
Possible destination addresses and phone numbers
Loved ones addresses and phone numbers
Font and back photos of all forms of identification
Social Security Card
Military ID Card
Certificate of Citizenship
Resident Alien Card
Front and back photos of all credit/debit/bank cards
Department store cards
Copies of tax documents (from previous 2 years)
1098 (E, T, INT)
1099 (DIV, B, G, K, R, MISC)
Recent photographs of all family members
Don’t forget to include pets!
Once I have compiled everything, I use a 3-hole punch, laminate them (most back-to-back), and place them in a 3-ring binder. I laminate them so they are water-resistant (if not water-proof). If you don’t want the bulk of a 3-ring binder, you could always just punch the top of them and place one ring through them.
What else do you plan to add? What other ideas do you have?