This summer has been chock full of natural disasters for the United States. We had floods and hurricanes in the South and East, fires in the West and Northwest, and tornadoes in between. This begs the question: do you have a go pack ready in case of evacuation?
What Do You Really Need?
Essentials are essentials, regardless of where you live and who you are and what kind of disaster you’re facing. Beyond that, there’s a lot of room for interpretation based on your geographic location, your evacuation options, and the time of year. Plan and adjust accordingly. We created a downloadable workbook that includes seven checklists of what you see below and more.
While documents seem like the least important thing you want to grab, they may mean the difference in getting the correct life-saving medications, starting the claims process more quickly, and being able to access your money and assets more quickly. Put these in labelled, waterproof bag(s). Documents such as:
- Immunization records
- Health directive
- Health insurance policy, cards
- Auto insurance policy
- Home insurance policy
- Identification (driver’s license, passport, social security)
- Birth, marriage, death certificates
- Negatives of important pictures, important photo albums
It’s worth mentioning that electrical grids are often affected after a disaster. This doesn’t just mean that the A/C won’t work. This also means that restaurants, hotels and stores can’t run their credit card machines. Be sure you are well-supplied with cash. It may be a bit before you can begin using your cards after a disaster.
Phone Numbers and Accounts List
Create and maintain your list of phone and account numbers for your insurance companies, utilities, and banking. If you have favorite contractors you like to work with, put them on your list as well so you can be the first to call them when you get back home. This is a great place to also keep the numbers for your family and friends, as well as the agreed upon address/location where they will evacuate and can be found or met up with later. There’s nothing worse than not knowing if your loved ones made it to safety.
Credit Cards and Loans
As Melinda Opperman explain on Credit.Org, “Every creditor will have a disaster policy in place.” It’s a good idea to make sure you have a list of your creditors, account numbers, and their numbers. They may be able to help you.
The Rest of the Checklists
Everyone has different needs and preferences for supplies. And there are numerous sites along with their many varied lists. The remaining checklists include some thoughts on camp / clothing / gear; food and drink; and toiletries and sundry items ready-to-go. For the safety of all, the author included canned double shot espresso on the food and drink list. Your needs may differ. But feel free to customize it to the specific needs for you and your family.
This may seem like a daunting task to collect all this information and make emergency preparations. Just think how much worse it will be if you wait until disaster strikes! Hopefully, you’ll never have to test your preparedness.