Info-To-Go in Case of Emergency

Reader alert: More serious tone and longer than usual.

A few months after moving to Vancouver, I attended a session on Earthquake Preparedness at my local community centre. The presenter was a city employee who assists people in any disaster such as having to flee their homes due to a fire. I came away with lists of what to put into a Grab-and-Go Emergency Kit in case I was forced to evacuate and a Home Kit if I needed to be self-sufficient without heat and power for a while.

I bought a flashlight and provisions to last a few days and filed the lists for “later”. The fact I hadn’t pulled together the essential information and documents I want to be able to access at all times has niggled away at me. The increased saber-rattling in the world has jolted me into realizing that no one is immune from disaster. Pulling my information together to mitigate the effects of needing to flee is within my control.

I decided to have some fun with the project, or as much fun as the idea of facing a disaster can be. I take comfort in knowing this information will make life easier for those left behind when I experience the ultimate evacuation – my soul leaving my body.

An expandable file with seven pockets housed information about my most active projects during my move. I decided to create seven categories so I could re-purpose the item. Also, I benefit from a structure to break the job of collecting data down into manageable chunks, as I become distracted easily. Here’s my best shot so far, in alphabetical order:

1. Contacts – next of kin, close friends, other friends, providers of professional and personal services (hard copies in case electronic versions aren’t accessible)

2. Financial – account numbers and telephone contact information for bank accounts and pension, utilities, automatic withdrawals, automatic renewals, insurance (life, car, property); photocopy of credit cards in case purse is lost, cash should ATMs be out of commission

3. Health – contact information for health professionals, prescriptions, blood type, name of dentist with my recent x-rays (Okay, that could be needed to help identify my body. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

4. Photos and Mementoes – inspirational quotes, photos of children, grandchildren, parents, and one of myself (See note about dental x-rays under “Health”)

5. Property – roll number of home, serial number of car, list of valuable household items for potential insurance claims (I may place a copy of this in the safety deposit box as well)

6. Safety Deposit Box – address of bank and number of box, listing of contents

7. Vital papers – passport, birth certificate, photocopy of health card and drivers’ license (in case purse is lost), social insurance number, name of and contact info of lawyer with my will and power of attorney documents, highlights of end-of-life, funeral and organ donation wishes

Feel free to share. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Now, back to collecting data for each pocket. I wish I found this task as much fun as writing (sigh).


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