How to Gather Important Family Documents for Emergencies

man digging thru papers

I never knew (as a kid) how many documents I would be responsible for as an adult.

Birth certificates, social security cards, mortgage documents, insurance documents and the list goes on and on.

How do you keep everything safe and organized in a grab & go emergency situation?

Today we are going to talk about gathering important documents.

Why do we need to gather important documents?

In an emergency situation, you may leave your house not knowing what shape it will be in when you get back. You will want to have important paper documents with you as proof of identification, proof of ownership and to save you a lot of hassle in the aftermath.

If I had been home during my house fire and had been able to grab important documents, it would have saved a lot of headache in the days and months after the fire.

file folder box

How do we organize important documents properly?

I prefer to use a file organizer (like in the picture above) to file my important documents.

You could also use a large binder with plastic sheets and dividers.

DO NOT LAMINATE birth certificates, social security cards or other important documents. It may invalidate them for government use.

What should we have in it?

  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Immunization Records
  • Copy of Photo IDs
  • Social Security Cards
  • Passports
  • Church Records
  • Immigration Documents
  • Adoption/Foster Care Records
  • Individual photos of family members
  • Medical records/prescription information
  • Insurance Policies
  • Photo copies (front and back) of all credit cards
  • Vehicle Titles
  • Mortgage papers
  • Living will/trust papers
  • List of Important Phone Numbers (doctors, dentist, friends, family, utilities)
  • Military Records
  • Family History Records
  • Old Family Photos
  • Anything other important documents you don’t want to lose

Can we make a digital version?

You can scan all of this information onto a thumb drive and keep it in a safe spot (maybe your 72 hour kit).

I would do this in addition to the binder, not instead of the binder. You don’t know if you will have access to electricity and a computer in an emergency situation. It is also better to have originals of some things instead of copies.

womans hand with paper and pen

Where should I put it when it is complete?

You should keep this resource in the same spot all of the time, so you know where to find it in an emergency.

It should be easily accessible, maybe near your 72 hour kits for easy grab and go.

Being ready in emergency situations goes beyond food and water storage. Having your important documents ready to grab and go will give you a big advantage in stressful time.

If a flood, hurricane or other natural disaster take out a large portion of your town, you don’t want to have to wait in line with everyone else in the government offices to replace your documents. You don’t want to worry about proving things to your insurance company.

You want to be prepared so that you can move on and get back to your former life as soon as possible. Believe me, I’ve been there.

So gather your important documents for your family today, find a safe place to put them in and always put them back when you need to use them. This will mean the world to you in an emergency. I promise.

How do you organize your important documents? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!

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