Do It Yourself

Prepare Documents For Disaster

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March 24, 2014 — When disaster strikes, whether it be a tornado or a house fire, paperwork is often the last thing on a homeowners mind. That’s why the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is advising residents to gather important documents in a safe place now, before they are needed. Severe Weather Preparedness Week is March 16-22, and officials say as homeowners gather important documents for tax filing, now is a good time to designate a safe, dry place for all important records.

“Having important financial and other documents organized in a safe place can be very helpful in the event of an emergency,” said IDHS Senior Public Information Officer John Erickson. “We also encourage Hoosiers to have copies of important and hard-to-replace documents in a ‘grab-and-go’ box or folder should it become necessary to quickly evacuate their home. The November tornadoes are an example of the importance of having vital documents stored properly.”


IDHS suggests gathering and copying:

• Vital records: birth certificates; marriage licenses; passports; adoption records; property and auto records

(deeds, titles, leases); insurance policies (auto, home, renter’s, umbrella policies)

• Document locator: tells others where originals are stored

• Financial information: list of all bank account numbers; copies of the front and back of each credit card; list of all retirement, pension, investment account numbers; mortgage and loan information; payroll and benefit information

• Medical information: copies of health, life and disability insurance cards and policies; medical history of each family member; list of medications and prescriptions, including dose and pharmacy; details about any ongoing treatments or conditions

• Contacts: contact information for friends and extended family members; neighbors who have access to your home; physicians and specialists; financial advisors or bankers; employer and benefits administrators; legal advisor


“This list is ambitious, but organizing and then having copies of these items could prove to be priceless in the event people need to rebuild their lives because of a disaster,” Erickson said. “It might take some time to get all of these things in order, but it’s wise to have this information at your fingertips, with or without an emergency.”



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