The news is filled with devastating images of people forced from their homes when a disaster strikes. What would you do in an emergency if you had to leave home quickly with little time to pack—perhaps not knowing when you’ll be able to return, or if you will even return? Once family members and pets are safe, what should come next?
The top 10 items you should plan to take with you in case of an emergency:
- Documents – Your family’s birth certificates, passports, social insurance cards, deeds, wills and other valuable documents should ideally be kept in a safe deposit box or at least in one easy-to-access place. And if you have a safe deposit box, make sure the key is easy to grab.
- Wallet with your driver’s license, health cards, insurance provider cards and other essential pieces of ID.
- Money – Try to keep some cash on-hand in case credit and ATM machines are not working or in case you can’t use them for a while.
- Medical devices, medications and any prescriptions, as you may need to refill them.
- Eyeglasses or contact lenses and solutions.
- Smartphones – Don’t forget the chargers! You may also want to have a back-up battery or solar powered charger in case you can’t find a power source.
- Laptop – If you use your computer for online banking and other transactions, your hard drive is loaded with important information. If you use a desktop computer you should have a backup drive to save that information and that is easier to carry!
- Home photos – Pictures of your home exterior (front, back and sides) and interior (of every room), can prove invaluable to help with insurance claims.
- Family photos – Can be irreplaceable and can help you get through difficult times. If you don’t have digital copies, consider which photos you can quickly grab.
- Valuables – Jewelry and heirlooms are precious keepsakes and can also hold monetary value. Keep a short list of the items you’d be able to carry with you easily.
Remember, the most important thing is for you and your family, including pets, to get out safely. By thinking about what you should take in advance and by putting important items where they can be accessed, you will get out faster and safer.
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