Talking to my sweetie yesterday. She had been discussing the New Orleans situation with a lawyer friend, when talk turned to bug-out kits and disaster preparation. Just one more reason why I love her so.
Anyway, the point about including critical papers & documents in your bug-out kit, or having them quickly at hand together in an identifiable place, struck me as an under-appreciated concept. People need to remember that in a crisis they may not be able to remember basic information. So take originals or photocopies of:
- All insurance policies or info. Quick test: can you name the companies and agent's name for all of your key insurance policies? At minimum you need the policy number, the issuing company name and the agent's name and phone number.
- At least one copy of bank books or a bank statement. Can reduce hassle in getting to your money. Esp. important if your funds are at a small local bank or credit union.
- Ruth, who lives in Tornado Alley, suggests having some traveller's cheques in your kit. Not a bad idea.
- A bill, any bill - cable TV works well. Can be used to establish residency.
- Tax return, preferably your most recent. Can be helpful in getting emergency loans.
- Passport, if applicable.
- Birth Certificate(s).
- Marriage certificate.
- Eyeglass prescription, if aplicable.
- Doctor(s) name and phone number, a list of any chronic conditions, allergies, or vulnerabilities you may have, and a list of all prescriptions you take. The prescription medicines themselves should go in your version of Armed Liberal's emergency medical kit when it's time to leave, of course, but that isn't always possible. That's when having the paper et. al. can be a lifesaver.
Reader "htom" suggests "Photocopies (notarized copies if applicable) of all of those documents. Leave the orginals in the safety deposit box. Seal both sets in ziplock bags, twice."
NOTE: If you face no-warning disaster possibilities like an earthquake zone, have these papers handy somewhere else like your car, or even a trusted person far outside your area who you can call. Doesn't do much good to have them handy in the house if you're at work, and your house is rubble, and they're inaccessible.
Any other must-have recommendations?