Organizing for Emergency and Disaster Situations Great Tips to Be Prepared

No one should live in constant fear of a disaster. Thankfully, chances are very good you'll never experience one. But unfortunately, the reality is that disasters such as hurricanes, floods, fires, and terrorist acts are not as unlikely as they used to be.

So being at least reasonably prepared for an emergency or disaster is a smart idea.A few years ago, I was evacuated from my home in the middle of the night because of a chemical fire that broke out in the building behind my home. That night I truly learned the importance of being prepared. When an emergency strikes, and you are scared and stressed, having to decide what to take is a nightmare. The last thing you want to do is spend time thinking about what to take when you could be gathering up your stuff! Especially when you only have 2 minutes to decide and gather.

In my case, I took photo albums, my laptop, critical paper files that were on my desk, my backup CDs, and of course my cats. I also grabbed a suitcase and took a few of my most frequently worn clothes.What would you take?.Here are 8 tips to help you organize your critical information and documents and be prepared to evacuate quickly.

  • First, make sure you know where your most important items are and make a Master Checklist of the items you want to take in an emergency.
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  • Make a list of all your important information including medical, insurance, credit cards, investments, passwords for your online accounts, etc. Keep this list in a handy place such as a Master Home Reference Binder that you can easily grab and take with you.
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  • If you or a family member have any special medical needs, pack up a kit of medicines and supplies you must have with you in the event of an emergency. Keep these supplies somewhere near an exit so that you can grab them quickly. Every 6 months update the contents. Make sure you or your family member have an emergency medical bracelet as well.
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  • Gather all your important documents such a birth certificate, deeds, titles, passports, etc. into one place. Scan them into your computer so you have a digital record, and email them to a family member or send them on a CD as a backup. Obtain duplicates to keep in a binder or box that you can grab & take or send them to a trusted out-of-town friend or family member as well. Put the originals in a bank vault or a fire- and water-proof box.

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  • Use an external USB drive / flash drive / DVD or other easily portable media to make a backup of all your central computer files. USB drives are a great solution because you can access the data from any computer. Remember to back up daily.
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  • Make a video inventory of each room in your house. Zoom in on all the expensive and irreplaceable items. Include your outdoor furniture and possessions, even your car(s).

    Update the video regularly and store a copy in a safe remote location such as a vault or a family member's home in a different state. If possible, digitize and upload the video to a website as a backup. When you acquire new large purchases, take photos and add them to your inventory.

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  • Make sure you scan or copy all irreplaceable receipts and proof of ownership for irreplaceable items like art and jewelry.

    Double check that all your valuables are recorded and covered by your home insurance policy.

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  • Consider using an online web-based vault service such as www.LeaveRight.

    com. Whatever service you use, make sure the company is legitimate and that they have taken extreme precautions to ensure the security of your data. The best part of a service like this is that all your data is accessible to you and your loved ones 24 / 7 from any computer, anywhere. So, in the event you have to evacuate your city, you don't have to worry about getting to your bank vault, and you'll have all your critical information at your fingertips.

  • . 2006 Ariane Benefit.
    .Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

    , is a professional organizer, coach, author and speaker with over 25 years experience helping people and businesses reach new heights of performance. She has written over 80 articles which can be found on the popular "Neat Living Blog: Neat Ideas for Living" at and at http://www.OrganizingForHealth.

    com Ariane resides in Bloomfield, NJ with her husband, Alan and three adorable Maine Coone cats. When not helping people organize their lives, she enjoys gardening, entertaining, traveling and riding her motorcycle.

    By: Ariane Benefit


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