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Emergency Ready Challenge: Family Documents (Printable Included!)

Be emergency ready - a preparedness challenge - Organizing your important documents

Last week we began talking about emergency preparedness and how to be ready to evacuate if it's ever necessary. Hopefully we'll never have to leave our homes for a hurricane, wildfire or flood, but you never know. "I'm prepared for the worst, but I'm hoping for the best" is my motto.

Each week I'm challenging you to work on one aspect of emergency preparedness. Some weeks you might already be prepped and ready! In other weeks you might find a few things you need to work on. If you're new to preparedness, I hope this series will show you where to start without becoming overwhelmed.

In addition, I'll be posting tips on Oak Hill Homestead's Facebook page and on my Be Prepared Pinterest board. You might also want to join our OHH Community Facebook group too. If you "follow" the group you'll get all the posts in your Facebook feed. The group is also a great place to discuss plans and thoughts about being prepared.

This week we're going to organize your family's important documents. Whether there's an emergency or not, having your papers stored in one place and organized will benefit you in many ways. You'll be able to find any paper you need for whatever reason, in just a few minutes.

You might want to store these items in a safety deposit box and keep paper copies at home, or scan them onto a thumb drive that you keep in your emergency kit. You could store the digital copies in the "cloud" as well, but remember that you'll want to keep this information secure to prevent identity theft. Evaluate your storage options carefully.

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Keep your documents or copies of them in a container with a lid. A plastic file box with a handle will work, or a Rubbermaid file tub or a small fireproof safe. Whatever you store them in, keep it in an easily-accessible place so you can grab it and go if it's necessary.

Start by copying the items in your wallet:
Driver's license
Credit cards (copy the back too so you'll have the phone numbers to call in case of loss or theft)
Social Security card
Health insurance cards
Other ID cards from work, school, organizations or associations

If you are missing any of the following papers, this is an excellent time to gather them together, order certified copies of legal documents such as birth certificates, and decide if you need to update your will or insurance coverage.
Vehicle titles (including boat, trailer, RV, etc)
Property deeds
Birth certificates
Marriage certificate
Immunization records
Power of Attorney
Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will, etc.
Trust papers
Deed to burial plots
Insurance policies (homeowners, life, car, property, boat or RV, etc.)
School transcripts and diplomas
Stocks and bonds
Income tax records from prior years

Don't forget your pets' and livestock records:
Immunization records and proof of spay/neuter for your dogs/cats
Livestock registration papers and health certificates
Photo of your pets and livestock for identification purposes

Make lists of:
Bank account numbers
Prescriptions for medications and glasses

Before the age of cell phones, we used to memorize our extended family's and friends' phone numbers. Now we - or at least I do - rely on our phones to memorize these numbers for us. I can remember the phone number of the house where I lived until I was seven years old, and I remember my grandparents' phone number, but I have to look up my adult children's numbers. Print out all those numbers in your cell phone to keep with your important papers.

The best way to protect your family photos is to scan them to thumb drives. A friend of mine recently asked her family for help with this project; they spent an entire day using two scanners. Ask for help if you need it to get this done. Remember to check these occasionally and decide if you need to update the device/format they're stored on. Technology changes - remember floppy disks?

This week we'll organize your family's important documents with the help of a free printable.

Your assignment this week is to gather the documents that would be difficult to replace and have them ready to grab at a moment's notice. Download the free printable here. (Do you need last week's printable too? Click here to download it.)

This isn't a project that you can finish in ten minutes; it took me weeks to find everything, replace what was missing, and get it organized.

If there is anything good that came from this month's natural disasters, it's the fact that many people have had their eyes opened to the importance of being prepared for whatever life throws their way. On Friday this week I'll be announcing a super flash deal on preparedness resources. I'll have more information as we get closer, so be sure to check back on Friday. Click here if you'd like to have my posts sent to your inbox automatically so you won't miss this deal.

Check out the other posts in this series:
Be Evacuation-Ready

Related posts:

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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  1. Anonymous8:43 AM

    This is a really good idea and you have given us a great resource. I am not on FB. Is it possible to print those tips you mentioned that you post on FB to also post them here on you page? Thanks.
    Loy Leslie

    1. Loy Leslie, that's a great suggestion. Most are links to other sites, but I'll see if I can compile them into a couple of posts here on the blog. Thanks!

    2. It's possible you don't use Pinterest either, but I've been pinning helpful blog posts to my Be Prepared Pinterest board.


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