(Manual/ Prepper Articles/ Personal documents)
A. How to Create an In-Case-of-Emergency Everything Document to Keep Your Loved Ones Informed if Worst Comes to Worst
30 June 2011, lifehacker.com, by Melanie Pinola
Pasted from: http://lifehacker.com/5817021/in-case-of-emergency-how-to-organize-your-important-records-in-a-master-information-kit
If you were hit by a bus today or were otherwise incapacitated, would your loved ones be able to quickly locate your important information or know how to handle your affairs? Many of us have a great handle on our finances, but our record keeping systems might not be obvious to family members or friends who might need immediate access to them in times of emergency. Here’s a step-by-step guide to organizing your vital information so it can be conveniently and safely accessed when needed.
The Goal: A Master Document or Folder with All Your Important Information
Perhaps the easiest method for creating a centralized document or set of files would be creating a Google Spreadsheet that you could share with your family and friends and keep updated regularly. We’ve created a basic Master Information Kit template just for this purpose, see above and copy from: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AurQ-1EcaNVWdERYNFoyazJLYXpqSGRvN1lxeE1Gb2c&authkey=CIW485gI&hl=en_US&authkey=CIW485gI#gid=0.
[Master Information Kit template]
The spreadsheet includes prompts for the information below, but you can customize it for your particular needs. To use the template for yourself, in Google Docs go to File > Make a copy… to save it to your Google account (make sure your version of the document’s sharing settings go back to the default “Private”).
Update: Due to high traffic to the template, Google Docs is only showing it in list view, making it impossible to copy. This zipped file has downloadable versions in PDF, XLS, and ODS formats. You can still import these into your Google Docs account.
There are really only a few steps to setting this organizer up: gathering your records, securely sharing them, and keeping them updated. Follow along and you’ll have your kit set up in no time—and a little extra peace of mind.
Step 1: Gather Your Vital Records to Keep in the Master Information Kit
The most important personal records:
First, there are a few documents that you obviously should keep in a secured location (a fire safe or safe deposit box):
- Social Security card
- Birth certificate
- Any other official, hard-to-replace documents
- Scan these items so you can have a digital record of them as well. If you encrypt the digital files, e.g., with one of our favorite encryption tools TrueCrypt, and you can even upload them to Google Docs and share the files with your loved ones (make a note of them in the spreadsheet). See encryption file discussion at: http://lifehacker.com/5679777/best-file-encryption-tool-truecrypt
You’ll also want to add to your emergency records kit:
- Contact information: Both your contact information and your emergency contacts’ info. This includes your nearest relatives, your will executor(s), and employers.
- Will and medical directives: Add a copy of your will/living trust and medical letter of instructions (keep the originals with your legal representative). You can upload a PDF file to Google Docs for this purpose.
- Insurance: Homeowners, auto, medical, life, disability, and other insurance agents/brokers contact info and policy numbers
- Financial accounts: Bank, investment, and credit card/loan accounts information, including institution names, phone numbers, and account numbers
- Health records: Immunization records, allergies, dietary restrictions, medications, medical/surgical treatments
- Pet information: Description of each pet, vet contact information, and any important medical notes
- Property: Car information, home purchase papers/deeds, and other home inventory items.
Again, adjust for your relevant information. Our Master Information Kit spreadsheet includes individual sheets for most of these pieces of information, so just make a copy of the sheet (File > Make a Copy) and start filling it out, in section at a time.
Step 2: Export Your Accounts Information
Account Passwords: For login information to important accounts, it’s best not to store your logins in an online document like this. Instead you can export your logins from password managers like Keepass, LastPass, or 1Password to a CSV file and then encrypt it so it can be shared securely. Our spreadsheet template includes a sheet specifically for describing your method of storing these files—the location of your vital documents, and any passwords needed to locate them.
Step 3: Share Your Master Information Kit and Vital Documents
The Google Docs spreadsheet is easy to share. Once you’ve filled out your version of the spreadsheet, click on the Share button and you can email people who you want to be able to view or edit the document. (Think people who you’d also consider emergency contacts.)
For your encrypted files, like the logins mentioned above, you could upload them in Google Docs, store on an encrypted USB thumb drive, or use something like Dropbox. Give the recipients your encryption password but for security reasons, only let them write down a hint to the password. E.g., vacation spot 2010 + pet bday + myfavoritesinger’smiddlename. Also, if you use Dropbox, make sure you encrypt sensitive information first. An encrypted zip file seems an ideal solution.
Step 4. Regularly Update Your Everything Document
You’ll need to update your files/master records book when you update your accounts.
Like setting up an emergency plan or a 72-hour emergency kit, this master information kit will need to be reevaluated regularly—consider doing so at least yearly (e.g., at tax time, when you’re already looking at all your accounts) or, better yet, quarterly.
Set up a reminder on your calendar so you won’t forget. When you get your reminder, don’t wait—just quickly look over the items in your document and if anything has changed, update it. If not, you’ve only lost a couple of minutes of your day toward a very good end.
More Resources for Creating a Master Information Kit
If you’re a Quicken user, for example, you may have access to Emergency Records Organizer built into the program, which can compile your emergency documents for you, based on the info you put in Quicken. It should be in the “Property & Debt” menu or you might find the program under your Quicken folder under Program Files.
Erik Dewey’s free Big Book of Everything is a very thorough organizer for all your affairs, with placeholders for you to record your bank accounts, insurance policies, tax records, and more. The 44-page Big Book of Everything is available in PDF or Excel format. See and download from: http://www.erikdewey.com/bigbook.htm
There are also a few personal documents organizers in dead-tree version, like For the Record with the same purpose, in case you want pre-printed book. See at: http://www.amazon.com/Record-Personal-Facts-Document-Organizer/dp/1589850580/?ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309395730&sr=1-7&tag=gmgamzn-20
Our Master Information Kit template (listed above) is a simplified version for the most essential information and with an eye towards sharing on Google Docs (or downloading and saving).
Whichever method you choose, having all your vital information in one easily accessible place can be comforting, for both you and your loved ones.
B. Why you should pack a Survival Flash Drive
Pasted from: http://survivalcache.com/survival-flash-drive/
When we think of survival scenarios we don’t often think of packing important documents: Drivers License, Handgun Carry Permit, Passport etc. However, I think this is a bad idea, and here’s why you should pack a survival flash drive in your Bug Out Bag.
Consider Your Odds
First, the chances of you finding yourself in a regional survival situation, such as Katrina or Haiti, are much greater than an end of the world scenario.
So let’s assume you were in an area-wide situation, had to bug out, and all of your stuff that’s not on your back got destroyed.
Fear the Bureaucrats
So you made it out, but with all your stuff gone you might not have any of your important documents with you. While that doesn’t really seem important compared to your life, the years worth of red tape and bureaucratic paperwork that we call a government doesn’t care. In fact, at that point you are a non-person.
How do they know you are who you say you are? You have no proof of identification and a terrorist attack just destroyed your city. How do we know you aren’t the terrorist? (After all you had an escape plan prepared)
While this may sound ridiculous, given the nature of our government these days it’s really not that farfetched.
Survival Flash Drive
To prepare for a localized survival scenario in which you will eventually have to re-enter regular society make it much easier on yourself and back-up your most important documents ahead of time.
All you have to do is buy a cheap USB flash drive, (or a waterproof one) scan all of your important documents, and store them on your flash drive in your Bug Out Bag. Bug Out and you’ve brought your all important “life on paper” with you. You can also keep this USB in a element proof bag like a Loksak Bag.
*Don’t go buy a scanner if you don’t have one, just take the stuff to Kinkos or Office Max and have them scan it all for you.
** Warning: Modern Copy Machine and Scanners have an internal Hard Drive that keep a digital copy of everything they scan. All it takes is one malicious worker at the store to steal your identity. If at all possible find a private copy machine and scanner.
- Driver’s License
- Handgun Carry Permit
- Bank Account Documents
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security Card
- Insurance Information
- Marriage Certificate
- All of the above for all Children
- Important Family Pictures
Be extremely careful keeping up with your Survival Flash drive, back in the regular world that is your identity.
C. The Most Critical Survival Tool
10 Feb 2011, Bug Out Bag Quest, by Lee
Pasted from; http://www.bugoutbagquest.com/2011/02/most-critical-survival-tool.html
I’m often asked by readers: “What’s the most valuable survival tool?” At the risk of offending many people, I’ll share my answer with all of you: It’s not a gun, or a knife, or a way to start a fire, or any of the other macho answers – it’s an iPhone. An iPhone (or similarly featured smart phone) is the only tool that is useful in every type of emergency or survival scenario:
1. Car in the ditch? Call for help.
2. General emergency? Contact your family.
3. Bugout situation? Let your family know your plans.
4. On foot in a bugout situation in unfamiliar territory? Use the phone’s GPS and maps.
5. Want to carry critical personal documents? Store them encrypted in the phone.
6. Need to document what’s happening around you? Use the phone’s HD movie or still camera.
7. Need to be rescued from an unknown location and have cell signal? Take a picture of your surroundings and mail it, complete with geotag.
8. Need your survival library? You can carry 10,000 books with you.
9. Want all this and more for very light weight? You got it – the iPhone is basically a computer that you can put in your pocket.
10. Worried about running out of juice? No problem – the phone can quickly charge from AC, DC, or solar, and will hold a charge on standby for days.
This phone can satisfy all of your communication needs except for a grid-down situation. It can store all of your documents. It can navigate. It is sturdy. It gets my vote as the most valuable survival tool because it is the most versatile survival tool.
D. Replacing Your Important Papers
5 November 2013, Fema.gov, Release Number: NR-084
Pasted from: http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/11/05/replacing-your-important-papers
DENVER – Not only were Colorado homes damaged by the recent severe storms, flooding, landslides or mudslides, but many survivors also lost valuable personal documents. The documents include everything from Social Security cards to driver licenses to credit cards.
The following is a partial list of ways to get duplicates of destroyed or missing documents:
Birth and Death Certificates – Birth and death certificates can be replaced by visiting your county vital records office or on line http://go.usa.gov/DFbw
Marriage Certificates – The online link for replacement of marriage certificates is http://go.usa.gov/DFbw
Marriage Dissolutions (divorces) – The online link for divorce decree replacements is http://go.usa.gov/DFbw
Adoption Decrees – The Colorado District Courts link for adoption records – if the adoption was finalized in Colorado – is http://go.usa.gov/DFbw
Immigration Documents – Contact your county office or the site below for citizenship, immigration, permanent resident card (green card), employment authorization, re-entry permit and more. uscis.gov
Driver Licenses – Visit any Colorado driver license office with acceptable identification and proof of address. Fee required.
Vehicle Registration, License Tab or Title – Contact your county motor vehicle office. You will need proof of insurance and Colorado vehicle emissions. Fees administered by county. http://tinyurl.com/m2hchyh
Passport – Complete form DS-64 from http://tinyurl.com/ld6z28k
Military Records – Request Standard Form 180 (SF-180) from any office of the Veterans Administration, American Legion, VFW or Red Cross, or download from http://tinyurl.com/lnu2pmt
Mortgage Papers – Contact your lending institution
Property Deeds – Contact the recorder’s office in the county where the property is located
Insurance Policies – Contact the insurance company for replacement papers
Social Security Card – Go to a Social Security Administration office. You also can request a copy of your Social Security statement online http://www.ssa.gov
Transcript of Your Tax Return – Call nearest Treasury Department office, IRS office or 800-829-3646; request form 4506. To find your local IRS office, go to http://tinyurl.com/mvk5dvu
Savings Bonds/Notes – Complete Form PDF 1048 (Claim for Lost, Stolen or Destroyed U.S. Savings Bonds); available by calling 304-480-6112 or at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/forms/sav1048.pdf
Credit Cards – American Express, 800-528-4800; Discover, 800-347-2683; MasterCard, 800-622-7747; Visa, 800-847-2911