Emergency Lessons – Segregate Important Documents

This article is one of a series of posts that emerged due to the 2017 wildfires that ravaged California wine country near our home.

When one has to evacuate in an emergency that is not the best time to decide on what’s most important and what can be left behind.  The Go Bag I discussed in a previous post touches on this for items related to health and safety.

Important papers and documents should also be placed in an easy to reach spot so they can be grabbed in an instant.  What sort of documents are considered important?

  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Drivers Licenses (of course these should be in your wallet or purse)
  • Insurance Policies
  • Passports
  • Pet ID
  • Prescriptions (You and your pet)
  • Real Estate Deed
  • Recent Tax Returns
  • Social Security Cards
  • Stocks, bonds or negotiable certificates
  • Wills

I recommend that many of the items above be scanned and stored off site for additional safety, something that I’ll touch on in a future post.  However, copies of some of these important documents online is not good enough.  In an emergency you may not have access to a computer connected to the Internet, so having a hard copy of the items above might come in handy.

When an emergency hits there might not be enough time to flip through your filing cabinet, looking for the important items.  In order to be able to grab and go you can consider a plastic filing box, complete with a handle for easy transport.  Place the box in a closet near your filing cabinet and it’s ready to throw in the car at a moment’s notice.

Some of these documents are fairly sensitive and you might not want to leave them around in a handy “to go” container for someone who might break into your house.  If you keep such documents in a safe or a lock filing cabinet just be sure they are clearly segregated from other, less important, documents so that they can be grabbed in an instant without thinking and thrown into the car.

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One Response to Emergency Lessons – Segregate Important Documents

  1. Pingback: Emergency Lessons Learned | Robert Barron

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