Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Whether you experience a flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane, or tornado, there is a risk that everything in your home could be ruined. When you evacuate your home, it is really helpful to have a notebook prepared with everything you will need to put your life back in order after the emergency.
Things to include:
A copy of your driver's license, birth certificate, marriage record, divorce record, adoption papers, child custody agreements, social security cards, passport, green card, military identification, etc.
Current banking and investment institutions (account information, and recent statements.)
Current lending institutions with account and contact information for home loans, auto loans, visa cards, home equity line of credit, trust deed, credit cards, student loans, alimony, child support, and elderly care when appropriate. Include your car VIN number, registration, and title. Make a copy of recent utility bills for proof of residence in case you need to apply for help from FEMA or other government programs.
Company (contact information, last two pay stubs, and supervisor's name and number), Pension (organization, contact info, and last two paychecks), Social Security (contact information and last two check stubs or deposits), etc.
Seven years of taxes should be stored in your file cabinet. You should make a copy of last year's tax report and keep it in your emergency notebook along with your most recent property tax statement and vehicle registration.
Company name, summary of policy, policy number, and contact information for life insurance, home insurance, and car insurance. Make a copy of recent appraisals and include pictures of furniture, technology, jewelry, art, or anything else of value.
Living Trust or Will
It is important to have a living trust in place. If you do not have one, please seriously consider it. Place a copy of your will or trust, and any power of attorney you might have in your notebook.
A list of major surgeries or medical conditions, medications including amount and how often it is taken, medical insurance cards, and immunization records should be included in the notebook. Make sure you note your blood type, any allergies, disabilities documentation, medical equipment and devices, pharmacy information, a copy of your living will, and medical power of attorney.
Important Phone Numbers
Doctor, dentist, poison control, police, ambulance, family directory with pictures for identification purposes, neighbors' directory, school, church, social service providers, homeowners association, and home repair services (utilities, plumber, roofer, carpenter, electrician).
Evacuation plan, how to turn off gas and water, how to drain water from the hot water heater, where the adjustable wrench is located, indoor meeting place, neighborhood meeting place, out of neighborhood meeting place, and out of town meeting place should all be in the emergency notebook (see Family Disaster Plan).
The one thing I have heard over and over from those who have lived through a catastrophic event is remorse over losing irreplaceable family pictures. If you can, digitize your family photographs and save them on a flash drive which can be stored in your Emergency Preparedness Notebook.
Keep your notebook in a fireproof/waterproof box or safe in your home or in a safe deposit box at your local financial institution.