How prepared are you for an emergency?
Those of you that have read my blog for sometime know I like to be prepared. Sometimes annoyingly so. For instance, I’m not a light packer.
I continually over pack because I want to be prepared for whatever might come my way. You need it I’ve got it. Take a hike with me and need a bandaid, no problem, I’m your girl. Bug spray, suntan lotion, hairspray, snack, I’ve got you covered. I pack for weather changes, traffic delays (especially things to keep the kids occupied) and sick kids. I’m constantly thinking ahead trying to anticipate every move. Sometimes it can be exhausting but in my defense this OCD of mine has rescued me on more than one occasion. However that doesn’t stop my girlfriends from mocking me about it. You should have seen the ribbing I got for the vehicle storage video I did! Such nice friends I have :)
However for as much as I think I might be prepared for life’s little quirks, I don’t think I’m near ready for what I might do if a natural disaster came my way. This past week I was blessed to be able to volunteer my organizing skills to help pack up two trailers of donations for the victims who recently lost their homes to the wildfires in my province (thankfully no lives were lost). Many people had little to no warning that they needed to evacuate and left with only the clothes on their backs. The stories are devastating.
It’s really gotten me thinking about what I would grab if I only had 5 or 10 minutes to get out of my home (other than my family and pets of course). What would I want to take and is it readily accessible to do so? Of course the first thing I thought of, as did many of the ladies that responded when I asked on Facebook, are my pictures. Pictures are not replaceable and I’d be very sad to lose them. I do have all my digital photos backed up on CD and stored in a fireproof safe however all my pictures from before I went digital are in photo albums on my shelf. There is no way I’d have time to pack them all up to take with me. It would take too long and they’d be too heavy. I would have to leave them behind or do something about it now to ensure they are more portable.
I was thinking I might like to scan them all onto CD and store them as well but that could take ages to do. So I’m considering using a photo scanning service to help me get organized in this area. I will let you know how my experience with that goes. Has anyone else used such a service and if so what was your experience?
I think as long as I had the safe, my laptop and wallet, we’d be okay since the safe also holds our important documentation like birth certificates, insurance papers (including video of household contents for insurance) and health cards. All things needed to put the pieces of one’s life back together again.
Other things like the kid’s keepsakes and memory binders, I would be okay to leave behind but something like that might be more important to you. It will be different for everyone. It’s figuring these things out ahead of time and taking the necessary steps to protect what’s most valuable to you while you are still able to think clearly.
I think having one spot for vital paperwork is a step in the right direction. During an emergency we simply may not have time to run around the house collecting it all. Collecting this information together in one place into a safety deposit box, home safe, binder or even file folder is a great place to start for peace of mind.
Paperwork to consider:
- birth certificates
- marriage license
- copy of driver’s license
- medical information
- description/video of household contents
- insurance papers (life and home)
- financial information including account numbers and mortgage details
- health cards
- copy of Will
- social security cards
How prepared are your pictures and paperwork? What things can you do now to help you become more prepared?
For assistance gathering your information check out the Prepared Binder *
An alternative that provides you a way to document your home and possessions online – DocuHome *
* these aren’t products I’ve used nor are they affiliate links. I just thought they looked helpful.
PS: I understand many natural disasters give you no warning at all and in that case no amount of preparedness will help. In this post I’m mainly referring to the ones that give you a teeny tiny bit of notice.