One Must-Take Step Before an Emergency

A New Way to Think About Emergencies

Debris from Tornado

I have been fortunate and never been through a storm, earthquake, flood or anything else that might destroy my home.

That being said, I see too often how quickly this type of devastation can hit.  I have a small pantry with emergency food and equipment for 3 days of survival (everyone should have this).  However, If a tornado hit and took out your house, would you know what documents you had at home?  Would you know which credit cards to cancel, how to contact all the people, banks, etc to let them know to turn everything off so you aren’t a victim of identity theft?  After all, if all of your bank statements and credit card statements are at home, after a storm they could be miles away for anyone to pick up. Make a list of your important documents


Gather Copies of Items on List

I have made a list of many items.  Most originals should be put into a safe or kept in a safe deposit box at a bank.  I am hoping if the bank gets destroyed, those thick vault walls will at least protect the boxes?!

Some of this information will speed insurance requests, provide to local law enforcement, or use to call major credit bureaus to freeze accounts, then to credit card companies, banks, etc.

Here is a list of items I have found to be important and make copies of each.  You never know what you have once it has been lost or stolen.  Just get photocopies and keep in a safe place other than where your originals are located.  It should be someplace you can get them easily, but not in a place a burglar can have access to this information.  Keep a copy with a relative who does not live in your area, someone you trust.

credit cards

  • Drivers license
  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security Cards
  • Passports
  • Concealed weapons permits
  • Marriage license
  • Mortgage or deeds
  • Receipts for major purchases
  • Jewelry appraisals
  • All insurance papers – health, life, property
  • Vehicle titles
  • Retirement accounts
  • Health recordsTax records and receipts
  • Prescription records
  • Health insurance member cards
  • Wills
  • Power of Attorney for health and finance
  • Name, phone, address of accountant
  • End of Life instructions
  • Bank statement
  • Tax returns (2 years)
  • Personal address book
  • Computer informationman with pet
  • Online passwords and usernames
  • Key to safe deposit box
  • Recent photograph
  • Numbers to gas and electric company
  • Emergency numbers
  • Video, photos and list of all your possessions. Be sure you are in the photos so they don’t question if these were all your items!\
  • Photo of you and your pet
  • Veterinarian records

I am more of an electronic type person, so I keep all of these copies on 3 flash drives in 3 different locations outside the home.  If we have no electricity?  I always keep spare computer batteries so I can get this information when needed.

This doesn’t need to be done all at once, but consider the alternative. Anything you have at home, can get blown into the next county during a tornado, wind sheer or flood.  No one wants to think about it, but a little preparation can save you lots of time, money and frustration should something happen.

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