Nobody enjoys thinking about the possibility of a family emergency or natural disaster, but taking steps to prepare for those possibilities should be a priority. While not lessening the shock and anguish of an unexpected, tragic situation, being prepared will help you to get your life back in order faster and easier.
One thing to consider is having important paper work organized in an emergency binder . The binder should contain all the important information about your life. Think about any paperwork or vital information you would need access to in an emergency, such as:
- Vital Records
- copies of birth certificates, adoption records
- copies of marriage licenses, driver’s licenses and passports
- copies of all property and auto records – deeds, leases, titles, etc.
- copies of all property/umbrella insurance policies
- a list of where off-site and original documents are stored
- Financial Information
- list of all bank account numbers
- copies of front and back of all credit cards
- list of all investment account numbers
- list of all retirement/pension account numbers
- detailed information about current income/benefits
- detailed information about mortgages/loans
- Medical Information
- copies of health/life/disability insurance cards and policies
- medical history for each family member
- list of medications and prescriptions, including dose and pharmacy
- details about any ongoing medical conditions/treatments
- Contact Information
- friends and family to reach in case of emergency
- neighbors who have access to your house
- financial institutions, insurance companies, legal advisors
- physicians, specialists, hospitals and other healthcare providers
- employers and benefit administrators
- Family Emergency Plan
- including a family emergency plan in your binder will help you to keep yourself calm and organized during what may be a stressful time
Make sure that your emergency binder is kept in a place where it is easy to get to and that it is easy to carry and that family members are aware of its location.
Secondly, it is a good idea to have a safety deposit box or lock box in which to store your original documents. This can also be used for storing important computer files and passwords, priceless family photos and valuable jewelry and memorabilia. Include a photo of each member of your family along with fingerprints and dental records. A home inventory list is also a useful item to have in storage. Remember that most of the documents in your “Emergency Binder” will be copies. Originals should be placed in a safety deposit box or lock box for safekeeping.
Whether it’s a family emergency or a natural disaster, tragic events almost always leave people feeling blindsided. Preparing in advance will help ease the feelings of being overwhelmed and panicked as you put your life back in order. So, set aside a day to put together your emergency binder to help protect your family now!
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