October 3, 2013

Make a 72-Hour Kit in 12 Steps: Step 9 - Important Papers

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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:

"A fire has begun on the mountain and the strong winds are moving it swiftly towards our home. There is an order 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 important 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, 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.
I've got lots more work to do to get our kits updated. I hope these ideas will encourage you to move forward.

Resources:
Utah.gov - 72-hour Kit Checklist
Ready.gov - Build a Kit

72-Hour Kit in 12 Steps

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