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Because your can’t put every important document in your 72-hour kit, decide what is most essential for you to use in an emergency. You can keep copies of many other items online or away from home. I do keep some of our family albums in the emergency closet to grab if needed, but eventually I want to scan those pictures and keep the photos online like my friend Maren is doing.
My list of important papers below will seem slim to you, but I always think of this scenario:
You get the idea. Check out the resources below for additional guidance.
Step 9: Important Papers
- Detailed Area Map – Even though my phone has a great map app, I always consider “what if” I did not have it. So I like to keep a road map of my county in case we need to find an alternate route to a shelter or a different road out of town. You may want to laminate your map, but if you can’t do that right away, just put your map inside a plastic zipper bag. Maps can be found at your city hall, local gas stations or AAA.
- Copy of Medical Prescription and Medical History – These items are crucial for emergencies. You may not have time to grab an existing prescription bottle during an evacuation, but a copy of the prescription would help you get a refill once you are gone. Include current tetanus shot and immunization record dates.
- Emergency Contact Phone List – Phone numbers change often, so update this every 6 months. I like to laminate this to protect it from water damage. Even though these numbers are in my cell phone, if I can’t access them, a paper copy is necessary. We have the same copy in every kit, and it includes our evacuation plan.
- Family Photo – Put a current family photo in your kit so you can help identify a family member you may get separated from. The photo may also encourage you while family is separated.