My last blog entry was about how I'm getting my stacks and stacks of papers cleaned up and filed. I thought that while I'm at it I might as well start gathering information for some emergency preparedness packets. I'm going through the papers anyway so why not sort it for the packets at the same time? It's better to prepare for an emergency before there is an actual emergency don't you think?
I got to thinking about what type of emergency I should prepare for and what information I should put together. Remember hurricane Katrina and the thousands and thousands of people who got evacuated? How the kids went one place and the parents went to another? Remember the wildfires that took whole neighborhoods within minutes? Remember the floods and tornadoes that took out whole towns last summer?
After these things happened there was the battle with the insurance companies. You ever wonder why the insurance companies are hesitant to pay? Well, a part of it is just insurance company strategy; but, a major part is that people couldn't prove ownership. You could say you just bought a brand new $30,000 quilting machine two weeks ago when in reality you had a 30 year old machine you found in someone's garage. Insurance companies want proof.
If a burglar broke into my house could I prove what I owned and it's value? Could I prove to the insurance company that I had a whole kitchen full of appliances and a new freezer full of food? How old are my appliances? If a tornado destroyed my house could I prove I own a Gammill and a few thousand dollars worth of gadgets? What about my fabric stash? Or prove I had customer quilts here?
If you evacuated your house without your purse or wallet what hassle would you go through to replace your bank or credit cards and driver's licence?
If you have adopted children or are the guardian of your grandkids and you got separated from them by a disaster.... could you prove they were your children? Especially if you have adopted a child from another country (race) and it's still an infant. Authorities want proof. Can you blame them? What if some desperate person tried to claim your child as theirs?
Ok, I think maybe I've scared you enough. I'm only trying to get you thinking about what information you would need should you loose your house suddenly from some type of disaster.
These are the ideas I've come up with for me.
1. evacuation - if I need to get out of the house in five minutes or less
2. medical - if I should become incapacitated
3. household maintenance - what I own and when it was last repaired
4. household ownership - proving what I own for insurance purposes
5. business - what my daughter would need to know to close up my business
6. furkid - if my purse dog should get lost or bites someone
7. business inventory - machine and all the tools/gadgets for insurance purposes
8. online - sign in names and passwords to all the sites I frequent
9. warranty packet - what is no longer under warranty, what is and when it expires
The emergency preparedness packets you put together should be for your needs. What I put in this blog is only a starting guide. A way to get you thinking. For example if you have children you might need a children's packet - their birth certificates, shot records, fingerprints, dental records, or adoption/guardianship papers, etc. Or maybe you include the records for the whole family in one packet.
Maybe you own a lawn mower or a snow blower or a generator? Do you know where the warranty is? When was it last repaired? What parts? What date? Who was the repairman? What company? If those parts are still under warranty but the same parts break again could you find the right papers to prove the warranty?
When you are preparing your emergency packets.... don't make it convenient for a thief. It's important to have this information in a convenient place to grab as you evacuate out the door BUT....... don't store original documents or personal information that's easy pickings for a thief. If you record things like credit card numbers, social security numbers, and things like that.... it should only be kept in a separate place away from your home. Preferably with someone you would trust with your life or in a safe deposit box.
Some of the packets will have originals and some will be copies. For myself, I'm going to either buy a water/fireproof safe or get a bank deposit box to keep originals copies. Copies of some information can be stored in more than one place too. Some of my copies of important papers will be given to my daughter to keep and some copies will be given to other family members to keep. I think it's important that information is stored in several different places.
Its not going to be easy for me to get these packets of information together. I have quilt deadlines to meet and can't spend the time I need to gather papers. But, this is a necessary thing I must do for myself. As I put together my packets; I plan to post about them here. Maybe by reading about how I create mine you will get ideas for your own..... just in case.