Hurricanes, flooding, fires! When local officials tell you it is time to evacuate, you should respond immediately. But what do you take with you and how can you be sure that you have everything you need? Here, we will discuss ways to make sure you have all of your important documentation safely and securely with you should you need to evacuate your home for any reason.

Make a plan

If you are in an area prone to natural disasters, you should really have a plan in place long before disaster hits. Make a plan today and consider things like, what you will do if your family isn’t together when a disaster strikes. How will you contact one another and where will you reconnect if you aren’t together. Ready.gov shares four questions that can help with making a detailed plan and ensuring that everything is thought of.

Have a “go bag”

October’s Consumer Reports magazine suggests keeping a “go bag” and that bag should contain things like spending cash, battery operated games for the children, a flash drive with insurance and financial information on it and a list of other things to get if they have more than 15 minutes to do so.

Consider a LifeBook

The LifeBook has much, much more than the basic insurance information you will need in the event your house is a total loss, such as – doctors, family contacts, credit card information, utility companies with account numbers and more. Not only is all the information conveniently printed and stored in a 3-ring notebook, but all the same information is saved on a secure flash drive that you can literally stick in your back pocket should you have to leave quickly.

Create a digital backup

Since all of your information can be stored on a secure flash drive, in addition to the LifeBook, I recommend that you put your files on the flash drive and place the flash drive in a waterproof container. You can store the flash drive in your “go bag” in case of evacuation.  It is also a good idea to give a copy to another family member or trusted friend.
In addition to the 25+ fillable pages that come with the LifeBook and are on the flash drive, I recommend that you scan estate documents such as Wills, Power of Attorney, and advanced directives and add them to the flash drive. It’s a good idea to do the same with insurance and credit cards as well as your driver’s license and birth certificates.
Evacuating your home is a devastating experience and can be more exacerbated by having to scurry and find all the important things you want to take with you. Take the time to prepare now, before you are caught up in the midst of an emergency. Know that you will be prepared and have any information you will need to provide to insurance companies, banks or other entities that you may require help from during this difficult time. You’ll be glad you did.

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