Worried about a fire, flood, earthquake, or other disaster striking your home so all of your valuables and documents are lost? Well, while we can’t keep a disaster for occurring, we CAN prepare our records and documents by keeping them safe. We all have several important documents which we wouldn’t want to get lost or destroyed in the case of an emergency – so it’s better to get prepared so we’re not regretting it later.
Store Important Documents
Ready.gov suggests that you “Store important documents such as insurance policies, deeds, property records and other important papers in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box away from your home.”
Those are great tips, but ‘other important papers‘ part is a bit vague. What’s important to you may be different from my stock of important papers, but here are a few suggestions:
- Birth Certificates
- Social Security Cards
- Immunization Records
- Allergy Information
- List of Medications of family members
- Specialist or personal physician contact information
- Titles to cars or other property
- Loan information
- Credit account information
- Family or friends emergency contact list
Keeping Important Documents Safe
There are several ways to keep track of your vital records and also keep them safe in case of emergency:
- Cloud Storage: There are several cloud storage applications, such as Google Drive, which you can use to keep your important documents safe. Scan your vital records, and upload them as files onto your computer. That way, if an earthquake or other destructive disaster occurs and your physical files are lost, you will still have online files to use as a reference for account numbers, new copies of birth certificates, or any other missing documents.
- Fire-proof and Water-proof Safe: Another way to keep your documents safe in the case of a disaster is to get a fire/water-proof safe. You can find these padlocked, standard disaster-proof safes at your local home improvement store, or on Amazon. Put the safe in a cupboard or cabinet where you can easily grab it and find it in case of emergency, but without it being too obvious in case of a robbery.
A “Safe Exchange” is an agreement between you and an out-of-town close friend or family member to basically protect each other’s stuff. Just fill up your safe, give your best friend a call, and ask her (or him) to do the same. Once your friend has put his or her copies of important documents in the safe, exchange safes – each of you will store the other’s safe in your own house. That way, in the event of a local disaster, your documents would still be safe.
Safe Deposit Box
These super-secure boxes are available at your local bank, for a price. Safe Deposit Boxes are especially awesome because if something happens to your house, your files will be tucked away safely in the vaults of your nearby bank. The price for a safe deposit box depends on the bank and the size of the box, so contact your local bank for pricing information.
Get Informed and Protect Your Family’s Documents
Getting informed is part of National Preparedness Month, so start preparing now! Consider making a list of all of your vital records, buying a disaster-proof safe, and then filling it up to keep your documents safe. If something does happen, you won’t regret preparing for an emergency!