The purpose of this blog post is to provide the third installment in my disaster preparedness series, what is a “go folder,” and why is a “go folder” important?
“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” – Denis Waitley
Fact: It does not matter where you live, disasters can, and unfortunately will, take place. Is it a guarantee? No. Should you prepare? Absolutely!
The last to-do you need to add to your plate after a disaster is finding important paperwork you will need. Imagine, trying to pick yourself up, protect your family, and create a safe environment all the while needing to add “find important paperwork” to your list of to-dos…no thank you!
Creating a “Go Folder,” now, that has most everything you will need after a disaster is imperative. So now, the million dollar questions are:
- What do I need?
- Where should I store my information?
What Do I Need? Below are 7 critical categories you need to have documented, secured, and easy-to-access.
- Personal Identification: driver’s license, birth certificates & passports
- Emergency Contact List: This is a list of any and all family & friends you may need to contact after the disaster. If your cell phone battery dies, you no longer have access to their contact information. Creating a contact list will give you the ability to get in touch with loved ones with less worry and increased efficiency.
- Medication Lists
This list must be comprehensive for each family member in your home.
- Name of medication – including generic name
- Frequency needed
- End-of-life Documentation
I highly recommend, reviewing the website of a Board Certified Professional Organizer and End-of-Life Planning Advisor, Audrey Billet for further details.
- Health Insurance Portability & Accountability (HIPAA) release
- Advance directive
- Durable power of attorney, healthcare
- Durable power of attorney, financial
- Will & trust documentation
- Home/Renter’s Documentation: title, insurance, mortgage & loan information
- Motor Vehicle/Recreational Vehicle Documentation – title, insurance. & loan information
- Jewelry/Art – insurance & documented pictures
Where Should I Store My Information? I believe each family should have two forms of access: physical, and online access.
- Physical: Again, storing the critical information in a secure, user friendly, easy to access location is key. Depending on your area, this location may be slightly altered. For tornado prone individuals, utilizing your safe room may be best. For earthquake, flood, fire, hurricane, and extreme temperature individuals, your best location may be within a safe.
REMEMBER: All documentation is a copy of the original. All documentation should be stored in weather resistant packaging.
- Online Access: All of the above-mentioned information must be available via online access as well. Keep in mind, you may not have physical access to your desktop or lap top. In this day and age, utilizing online access is imperative. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Google Docs
- Drop Box
Create a point-of-contact for your online access: When disaster strikes, there is a real possibility you may not have online access/internet access. Appoint one trusted point-of-contact outside of your state to have secure access to files you may need.
How can a professional organizer assist you?
For many, this post may have you short of breath. This topic is daunting, overwhelming, and stressful. Hiring a professional organizer can provide you with the following:
- Assists you in finding the critical documentation listed above.
- Creates one home for your physical as well as online access.
- Gives you the peace-of-mind that, if needed, you are ready if disaster strikes.
For a listing of professional organizers in your area, you can turn to the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO).
You can do this! Unclutter Me is here to assist you.
Refresh. Renew. Live Simply.
“Planning is not hard, it just takes focus and a little effort.” – Doug Hoell