Welcome to week #23 in the “72 Hour Kit Ideas: A week by week approach” series.
This series is all about making it simple and do-able to get a 72 hourkit (aka survival kit, bug out bag etc) put together for you and your family: something that will help you care for yourself without the aid of others for at least 3 days!
Creating such a kit can be overwhelming and financially difficult to do all at once. So, through this series, I’ve broken it down for you into 26 small steps! Just take one small baby step each week and in 6 months you will have a well stocked kit!
This entire 26 week series is now available as an e-book!
You can even go through the series a few times over a year or two adding just the most basic supplies the first 6 months and then a few more “extra” supplies each time you cycle through it again. No need to get overwhelmed. Just do what you can!
I hope all of you were able to get all prepped for your pets last week.
Week #23: Important Documents
It is unlikely that any documents you choose to include in your kit will keep you alive. (-: However, having them all organized and together can make your life so much easier now! (and in the event of an emergency). I use my binder regularly and it is so nice having it all in one place. Read through the comments to see many, many situations when people have used their binders on normal days as well as in an emergency.
Making insurance claims, searching for missing loved ones (heaven forbid), staying in touch with family and friends, traveling around the country and accessing your financial accounts will all be much easier if you have some essential documents at your fingertips.
I’m simply going to walk you page by page through my “emergency documents binder.” I keep this near our kit, but not in it as I access and use it often. And yes, it is somewhere safe and well hidden.
The front cover:
Nathan (my husband) and I each have our own prioritized list of what our responsibilities will be when / if we need to evacuate. If we are given 10-30 minutes notice, we start in at the top or the first list and try to get through as much as we can. The stuff at the bottom of the list isn’t as essential as the stuff at the top. If given just a few minutes to evacuate (and doing so on foot), we use the second lists instead. You can read more about our family evacuation plan here. (although I need to edit it a bit online…the printed one is more accurate!)
Important Phone Numbers:
The first page:
This front side of this page has 6 boxes on it:
- A box with our address and phone numbers
- A box with “essential” info for every member of our family (name, DOB, allergies)
- A box that says: “If you are unsure who to call and it is an emergency, dial 911!
- A box with phone numbers to all our insurance companies along with the insurance policy numbers (car, life, health etc)
- A box with other important emergency numbers (poison control, 24 hr nurse line, gas company, plummer, etc)
- A box with our doctor’s phone numbers.
I have a 2nd copy of this printed and posted inside our pantry for babysitters and even my own use. I don’t want to have to take the time to look up poison control or even my children’s doctors #s each time I need them. And if I need the gas shut off, I want it done quick. Having this posted makes my life simpler.
The back side of this page has 5 boxes on it:
- My husband’s family’s numbers (parents, siblings, grandparents)
- My family’s numbers
- Local friend’s numbers
- Non-local friend’s numbers
- Other important numbers
Socials & Insurance IDs
In business card sheet protector:
They are easy to access. I always know where they are and will have them in the event of an emergency. Enough said.
In photo sheet protector
If you were to lose a child (during a natural disaster or otherwise) and then find him / her, you may have to prove that he /she belongs to you. This would be especially true if the child was injured / incoherent and unable to recognize you for any reason. Having a older and more recent family photo is one very quick way to prove that this child does and has belonged to you for some time. We will be getting family pictures taken on Saturday, so I will be adding a more recent picture then. The picture you see is the only one I currently have that includes Bethany, but she is just a few weeks old.
Child ID Kits
With pertinent documents behind it.
I created this Child ID Kit after searching for a free one online and not finding one I liked. Print it out on cardstock. Write it all the info you can about your child off to the right. Take their fingerprints and be sure to include the date at the top. Update this page every 6 months. These pages are the main reason I keep this folder with me at all times. If I were to every lose my child, I’d want the police to have all their information as quickly as possible. I’ve heard horror stories of mothers who can’t remember their children’s birth dates (read similar stories in the comments below), eye color etc. b/c they are so distraught with worry. I don’t want that to happen to me. You may also consider including a DNA sample (a piece of hair will do).
A tip for the fingerprints: DO NOT “roll” your finger when pressing it on the paper. This can cause the ridges to distort. And don’t use too much ink: practice on a piece of paper first!
One more note from one of my great readers comments: “Doing your own fingerprints at home can sometimes be difficult because of smudging, etc. Another option is to get a fingerprint card taken at any local police station/sheriff’s office. It’s free at my local police station, but sometimes they charge a small fee. You just need to take a photo ID with you when you go.”
Behind each of my Child ID kits (in the same sheet protector), I keep that child’s birth certificate & shot record. My kids have no allergies or health concerns, but if they did, I would keep details on that info in this sleeve as well. If your child does have allergies, I suggest you read TJ’s advice (she is a reader here) about what she does for her kids (read it here)
Adult ID Kits
With pertinent documents behind them
If my husband and I were to go missing or not be found after a natural disaster, I would once again want to quickly give authorities as much info as I could. I keep our birth certificates, immunization records and passports behind each kit.
Pet ID Kit:
I don’t have pets, but many of you do! One of my fabulous readers, Wren from Her Hero, His Lady created a Pet ID Kit based off the ID kit above. So, if you have a pet (I do not), you can now download and use her fabulous template! Thanks Wren!
and extra cash / cards
I keep a written copy of all our log-in information for our various online accounts including banks, insurance, cell phone, school loans, facebook, email etc. (And I’m NOT telling you where I hide this folder!) I do not save this anywhere on my computer though I do store it in a secure online database. I also keep cash and an extra set of credit cards here.
Other Important Document:
- Property titles (homes, autos, boats etc)
- Insurance policies
- Copy of car registration
- Medical directive
- Marriage License
- Written Home inventory (and a DVD of a video inventory)
- Map of your area
I keep the entire folder well hidden but I won’t tell you where. I suggest keeping it in a water and fire-proof safe.
Concerns About the Risks
I’ve had many, many people comment or send me emails about their concern over this post. Some have been very kind, others, not so much.
First, all the numbers / important info in the pictures has been blurred / blocked with software that will not allow it to be “cleaned up.”
Second, yes, having all this in one place creates a risk. But there is risk no matter what. If you don’t have the folder at all there are risks. If you keep it in your home there are risks. You have to weigh which risk is less scary to you. For me, I’ve decided the risk of not having it is scarier than the risks created by having it. My folder is very well hidden and does not call attention to itself. If it were to be stolen, I would know very soon after the fact and would immediately take measures to protect my identity.
The risks of not having this folder and needing it are much more common (just read them comments below about all the times people wished they’d had one). Some aren’t serious, some are, but I feel “safer” having it. If you don’t and feel the risks outweigh the benefits, then by all means, don’t make one! If you are nervous about the risk and what some other ideas, read the comments below, there are lots of great ideas from my fabulous readers! And if you want to chime in with some other ideas or possible solutions, feel free! I love differing opinions. But please, be kind! Being mean never helps anyone. (-:
And don’t forget….
Add at least $1 per person to your survival kit this week. Make sure you use $1 bills and / or quarters
How About You?
Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts about this folder. Do you have one? Will you be updating it? Will you not make one? Why?
|Week #22: Prepare for your pet||Week #24: Religious Items||Week #1: Packaging Your Kit||Series Into: Survival Kit Series, A Week by Week Approach|