Because you can’t put every important document in your 72-hour kit, decide what is most essential for you to use in an emergency. My list of important papers will seem slim to you, but I always think of this scenario:
“A fire has begun on the mountain and the strong winds are moving it swiftly towards our home. We’ve been ordered to evacuate. I’m visiting family in Salt Lake and can’t get home to help my family or get my 72-hour kit. However, my school kids are home. What would be the most essential papers they would need? The deed on the house? No. Auto insurance papers? No. A map? Yes. A list of phone numbers in case their cell phone stops working? Yes!”
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, consider what if the internet was offline. I keep a county road map in my kit in case we need to find an alternate route to a shelter or a different road out of town. Maps can be found at your city hall, local gas stations or AAA.
- A Copy of Medical Prescriptions 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 if you get separated.
I’ve got lots more work to do to get our kits updated. I hope these ideas will encourage you to move forward.
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