During a disaster, you may have only a few minutes to escape and taking valuable possessions with you might not be possible. However, you can take steps to protect the valuable documents you will need to rebuild your life after the disaster. Keep your valuable documents safe from disasters by following these tips:
- Take an inventory of all your important documents. Consider using a software application to help you to organize information more quickly. The number of documents may be large, so take your time to organize all your important documents into categories, such as:
- Household identification. The documents needed to identify yourself and your family include IDs, birth, marriage or divorce certificates, passports, driver’s licenses pet ownership papers, etc.
- Financial and legal documents. These can include a wide array of documents including mortgage agreement, credit cards, vehicle loans, insurance policies, utility bills, tax statements, etc.
- Medical documents. Medical information can vary greatly from person to person and may include health insurance, prescriptions, disabilities documentation or contact information for doctors.
- Keep all your physical documents in one place. Should a disaster occur in your home, you might have time to take valuable documents with you if you keep all of them in one container.
- Store documents either at home in a safe, filing cabinet or lockbox that you can take with you in case of a disaster. Make sure the container is waterproof and fireproof and that you keep it in an easily accessible place. Alternatively, store documents in a safe deposit box at a bank.
- Make paper copies or duplicate originals of all your key documents to have a backup solution in case your original documents get lost, damaged or destroyed. Store the copies in a different place than where you keep the originals.
- Create electronic copies of each document and store them in a secure online cloud storage service, a CD or a portable storage device. Use a scanner or go to a copy center to create your collection of electronic documents. Obviously, electronic files can’t be affected by fires or floods, but be sure to protect your storage device and remember the password to your storage account.
If you’ve experienced a home fire, take a look at this article to learn what questions you should ask the insurance agent after the disaster. For professional fire, water and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.