Most of us watch world events unfold in the comfort of our homes and safe environments. Rarely do we think that the severe weather event or disaster could happen to us. But that is exactly what those individuals in the news story thought, until the disaster was knocking on their door.
Just how prepared are you?
A severe storm is bearing down on your neighborhood. Or your home is no longer safe due to the aftermath of a hurricane or tornado. 3-2-1 – Go! What items do you take with you in those few moments? Will you be able to rebuild your life with what you grab?
Of course our first priority is the safety of our family and pets. The second priority we usually assign to our sentimental items which can never be replaced. Often times, the most important papers necessary to rebuild our life are left behind.
Use this blog to help you organize your important papers. This way if you ever need to evacuate your home, you will have ALL your priorities with you.
Ideally you will want to use a waterproof and fire safe lock box to store your documents. In the meantime, having one place for all your documents is a step in the right direction. You can also store your documents in the cloud. The downside is that if there is no electricity, you won’t have access to your documents. This may delay your recovery process. Hard copies are still the best option.
When compiling important documents, think about what information you will need if you have home damage and/or personal injury in the disaster. This may include having to prove to the authorities that you live in the house, and that you are who you say you are.
Your important documents include:
- Health, home, and car insurance
- Bank account information, investments, retirement accounts
- Original social security cards
- Original birth certificates
- Phone numbers to utility companies
- Hard copy contact list for family and friends
- Medical history for each family member, prescription information for family members, list of family physicians and their contact information
- Pet documentation stating proof of pet ownership, pet microchip identification, Pet ID cards and tags
- Copies of legal documents: living will, power of attorney, health proxies, family wills
- Home inventory list. The home inventory list will make it easy to identify damaged items in your home, and assist the insurance company in fulfilling your claim.
Other Important Items
- safety deposit box keys
- DVD or thumb drive of family photos
It is a good idea to review the contents of the box annually. This keeps your documentation current. A good time to update the documents is when you renew your home and auto insurance policies.
Now you are in the know! Protect yourself and your family.
Follow these simple preparations and give yourself a peace of mind.
The above article is meant to give a general overview of disaster preparation. Please refer to your individual state government’s guidelines for severe weather preparations.