Don't Forget These Nine Critical Things In Your Emergency Bug-out Bag
By: Jim Porterfield

If you're packing a "bug out bag" or emergency preparedness kit you'll certainly first think of water, food, and other most-needed supplies. Make a note that you should also include the documents and papers you'll most certainly need if you can't return home right away.

If you're living away from home or staying in an emergency shelter, you'll have your most basic needs met. In order to move on from there and start getting your life back on track you may face insurmountable obstacles if you can't prove who you are, that you have available financial resources, and that you have insurance to cover your losses.

When you're packing your emergency kit it pays to also pack copies of your most important financial and legal documents. When the sirens sound you won't have time to locate your important papers and make copies, so do this now while things are quiet. The little space these items will take in your go-pack will be well worth it.

Wrap copies of the following documents in a waterproof bag and stash them in a small pack you can remove from your bug-out bag and wear around your waist during an actual emergency. You will want these with you at all times. Never leave them unattended in your emergency kit. You don't want your identity stolen when you aren't looking:

1. Your identification documents: Driver's license, birth certificates, passports and Social Security cards

2. Health insurance cards, front and back so you have all contact numbers

3. Credit cards

4. Bank contact information, including account numbers and passcodes

5. Prescriptions for any medical supplies or medications that are critical

6. Title documents for all vehicles and real estate

7. Insurance documents for all real estate and vehicles

8. Custody documents for any children

9. Emergency contact numbers for family members, all insurance carriers (with policy numbers), and primary care doctors and pharmacies.

If you have space there are other documents that will be handy to have in case your relocation is lengthy. If you don't have the space to carry all this information in your bug out bag, make copies and mail them in one large package to someone trustworthy who does not live in the same geographic area you do. You don't want the person holding these documents to be evacuated, too.

1. Medical record summaries for anyone in your family with a health issue

2. School records, in case your evacuation is lengthy

3. Marriage certificates and military discharge document (DD214)

For real convenience, scan all your important documents onto a flash drive you can easily carry around with you. With your flash drive you'll be able to email from any working internet connection or print hard copies without having to find another copy machine.


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