September is National Preparedness Month. Preparing for emergencies or disasters does not need to be time consuming or expensive. Focusing on just one task per month is a great way to space out purchases and takes very little time. By the end of a year, you will have done 12 things to prepare yourself and your family.
Many people overlook having important documents in an emergency kit. In case of an emergency or disaster, there are four categories of documents that should be gathered and kept in a safe place. Additionally, storing digital copies of the documents on an external drive or on the cloud can make them easy to access from a computer or mobile device.
Make sure you have copies of photo IDs for everyone in your home. This includes driver’s licenses, identification cards, and passports. Do not forget about your pets. Keep their ID tags and microchip information in your kit as well. It may also be helpful to have photos of family members and pets in case your family is separated.
Other household identification documents include birth certificates, Social Security cards, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, naturalization paperwork, military IDs and service documents.
Financial and Legal Information
Include tax statements and housing payments such as leases, rental agreements, and mortgages in your kit. These documents may be required to apply for and receive disaster assistance. Having insurance policies and a home inventory on hand can also help you file claims as quickly as possible.
Maintaining your source of income during an emergency is important for staying on top of bills and payments. If you receive paper checks, consider signing up for direct deposit to a checking or savings account. Include copies of recent pay stubs and government benefits in your kit in case your income is interrupted. Additionally, cash may be one of the most helpful things in your kit because if a power outage occurs, ATMs or electronic credit card readers in stores and at gas stations will be unavailable.
Having copies of health insurance cards and current doctor information will help if immediate medical care is needed and ensure existing care continues uninterrupted. Also, include immunization records and copies of prescriptions. If you use any medical equipment such as feeding pumps or home IV units, have a list of models, serial numbers, and suppliers.
For pets, include their veterinarian information, immunization records, and copies of prescriptions. These documents may be needed if you have to evacuate to a shelter.
Household Contact Information
Having a written list of phone numbers for family, friends, or neighbors who can help in an emergency will definitely come in handy if the internet is down or your mobile phone has no power. Consider keeping contact information for your banks, insurance agents, service providers, or anyone else that you may need to contact about legal or financial issues.
Gathering your important documents may not be fun, but it will make dealing with the aftermath of an emergency or disaster much easier. It can give you peace of mind during an emergency and help you file claims as quickly as possible. For information about preparing your finances for a disaster, you can visit https://www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness.
Carson City Health and Human Services urges everyone to take steps to be better prepared for a disaster. For information about services and programs available to you through Carson City Health and Human Services, visit our website at gethealthycarsoncity.org, follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/cchhs, or call us at 775-887-2190. You can also find us at 900 E. Long St. in Carson City.