It does not matter where you live; disasters can and, unfortunately, will take place. Is it a guarantee? No. Should you prepare? Absolutely! Imagine trying to pick yourself up, protect your family, and create a safe environment, all while trying to find necessary paperwork. No, thank you! Save yourself the stress and create a Go Folder. A Go Folder has all the paperwork you will need after a disaster.
What do I need in my Go Folder?
There are seven critical categories of documents you need to have secured but have easy-to-access to.
- Personal Identification: Driver’s license, birth certificates, passports, immigration documents, etc.
- Emergency Contact List: A list of family & friends you may need to contact after the disaster. If your cell phone battery dies, you may not have access to their contact information. Creating a contact list on paper will allow you to get in touch with loved ones quickly and easily.
- Medication Lists: A comprehensive list for each family member (and pet) in your home.
- Name of medication – including the generic name.
- Frequency needed
- End-of-life Documentation: Keep the originals with your lawyer or in a safety deposit box and keep copies in your Go Folder.
- Health Insurance Portability & Accountability (HIPAA) release
- Advance directive
- Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare
- Durable Power of Attorney, Financial
- Will & trust documentation
- Other Important Information to include:
- Home/Renter’s Documentation: copies of the title, insurance, mortgage & loan information
- Motor Vehicle/Recreational Vehicle Documentation: copies of title, insurance & loan information
- Jewelry/Art: insurance & documented pictures
Audrey Billet, Certified Professional Organizer, provides further details if you are interested in reading more on this subject. I highly recommend visiting her website.
Where Should I Store My Information?
Each family should have two ways to access their information: physical and online.
- Physical: Store critical documents in a secure, user-friendly, easy-to-access location. For example, in tornado-prone areas, your safe room may be best. The best place for hurricane, earthquake, flood, fire, or extreme temperature areas may be in a fireproof-waterproof lockbox. Remember: You keep copies of original documents, but you still need to store them in weather-resistant packaging.
- Online Access: All of the information mentioned above must be accessible online. You may not have access to your computer, so you should investigate secure cloud storage solutions. Examples include, but are not limited to:
When disaster strikes, there is a real possibility you may have limited or no internet access. If this is the case, appoint a trusted friend or family member as a point of contact. Preferably, they should live in another state or outside the disaster-affected area. Grant that person access to your online documents so they can assist you.
Unclutter Me by Lisa Witzleben Can Assist You
Without a doubt, this topic can be daunting, overwhelming, and stressful. In fact, many of you may be short of breath just thinking about it. But you’re not alone. Unclutter Me by Lisa Witzleben can help with the following:
- Assist you in finding the critical documentation listed above.
- Create one home for your physical documents and online access.
- Give you the peace of mind that, if needed, you are ready if disaster strikes.
You can do this! Unclutter Me by Lisa Witzleben is here to assist you.