Get Healthy Carson City: Safeguard your documents

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday’s health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Whether it is a fire, flood, landslide or earthquake, disasters can happen at any time. If you had to evacuate your home because of a disaster, it is important to take some important documents with you. This includes copies of your driver’s license or identification card, medical cards, bank account statement and insurance policies. Having copies of these things can help you rebuild your life after a disaster.

Operation Hope and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to help families in the event of a disaster. The EFFAK is a guide for documents you need to keep in a safe, portable container that you can easily access and take with you in case of an emergency.

The EFFAK contains four sections describing the documents that should be included:

Household identification

These document you and the people who live with you, including your relationship or status.

Driver’s license

Photo ID

Birth certificate

Social Security card


Naturalization documents

Marriage license

Pet ID tags

Military service documents

Financial and legal documentation

Having these documents can help to establish service records, re-establish accounts or be able to speak to companies or creditors.

Housing payments

Insurance policies

Financial accounts

Tax statements

Sources of income

Estate planning

Vehicle registration

Medical information

Medical records, medications and health insurance allow you and your family to receive proper medical care.

Health insurance ID card(s)

Immunization or shot records

List of medications or prescriptions

Disability documentation

Household contacts

Sometimes after a disaster, the Internet or cell phone services do not work. It is also possible that your cell phone runs out of battery. It is important to have a written list of phone numbers for people who can help you in an emergency.

Personal contacts

Insurance agent

Health professionals

Emergency assistance

Bank institutions

Health professionals

After all your documents are in order, make a copy of your EFFAK and, if possible, keep all originals in a secure location such as an off-site safe deposit box. Keep a copy of your EFFAK at home in a secure fireproof, waterproof container where it can be easily accessed in case of an emergency or disaster. It is also important to review the list of documents and make updates at least once a year.

Carson City Health and Human Services urges everyone to take an active role to be prepared for an emergency or disaster. For information on preparing an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, visit For resources and information about our department programs and services, go to, “like” us on Facebook at, follow us on Twitter at @CCHealthEd, call us at 775-887-2190 or visit us at 900 E. Long St. in Carson City.


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