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How do you store important documents, photos, etc. in case of emergencies?


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#1 Wineandchocolate

Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

I'm trying to come up with a good way of storing all our important documents etc. in case there's a house fire (or other emergency) and we need to get out quickly.  So how do you manage yours?  At the bare minimum I would want to take:

- passports
- birth/marriage certificates
- computer (or at least back up of files)
- digital photographs (and some pre-digital hard copies)
- insurance policies
- heirlooms/personal memorabilia
- list of important phone numbers (ie. family members to contact)

What else is considered 'essential'?

And then I'd also like to be able to take:

- a small amount of cash
- purse/wallet
- mobile phone
- glasses
- what else?


At the moment all this sort of stuff is spread all over the house, so if there was a true emergency, we'd be frantically trying to get all this stuff together (assuming all people and animals were safe outside).

So do you store all these sorts of things in one place so that you could just grab a bag/box on your way out?  And what else would you include?  Would your DH/DP know what you would want to have taken with you, and/or know where all your stuff would be?

Just curious to know how other people manage this.

#2 Stellajoy

Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:37 PM

Keep it all in one drawer .. If there is a fire then just grab the whole draw and chuck in car

#3 *LucyE*

Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:45 AM

- passports
- birth/marriage certificates

Fire proof bank safe. I keep certified copies at home for my convenience. I also have scanned email copies so I can access while on the go. I have given copies to my parents and a set at DH's work as a back up but that's mainly for a back up if we lose anything while travelling. Much easier to cancel cards when we know the numbers.

- computer (or at least back up of files)
- digital photographs (and some pre-digital hard copies)

DH has set our computers to automatically back up to the 'cloud' (still not quite sure what it is). He also has a hard drive with photos at work but I don't think it's as up to date.

Our pre digital photos, I could grab the albums but probably wouldn't bother. Our lives are more important. Anyway, most of those photos could be pieced together by scouring the albums of other family members.

- insurance policies
We use a broker who offers personalized service. I think our policy gets emailed to us so we would have a digital copy.

- heirlooms/personal memorabilia
Wouldn't bother saving 'stuff'. It's just not that important to us (we have antique furniture that has been in the family for generations, my collection of designer hand bags, shoes, clothes etc). Again, our lives are more important than stuff. I'd be more inclined to grab necessities such as change of clothes, water, food.

- list of important phone numbers (ie. family members to contact)
On my phone. Addresses book is also on my computer. Phone numbers of close family I have memorized and they can call other people as needed.

What else is considered 'essential'?
I generally have a GTFO kit in my car because its handy with children. We could survive out of the car for a few days at a pinch.

I would also try and get out pets but I would probably have trouble rounding up all our poultry.

- a small amount of cash
In my handbag and in the car at all times

- purse/wallet
- mobile phone

Kept on the kitchen bench so easy to grab and go.

- glasses
I wear them

#4 Therese

Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:49 AM

I have most of our important documents in a small plastic crate. I would need to grab medication for our youngest and our portable hard drives.

#5 Mumma3

Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:11 AM

I keep all important documents - passports, birth and marriage certificates in "the purple folder".

It's not just for fire or emergency, but as DH travels a lot for work and needs his passport often, and I got sick of him asking me where his passport was!!

We have a separate hard drive backup for the computer, so I would grab that and the purple folder, as well as my purse, phone, keys.

Another essential for us is the medicine box, which contains all essential medications and prescriptions. Could be replaced, but would take time and mean missing out on required medication until they could be replaced, so important for us to take.

Insurance policies - you don't need the hard copy to claim anyway,so that's not necessary.

Everything else can either be replaced, or is not as important as my family. Sure I would miss the special items of memorabilia, family things, special craft the kids have made and photos etc, but if I had to make a quick exit, it would be last on my list. If we were preparing to evacuate (eg in advance of fire) then I would take some of those items as well as change of clothes etc.

#6 FeralRebelWClaws

Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:59 AM

We have one of these



Actually we have one with all the important all the time docs (birth certificates, breeder papers for the animals, house documents, work docs etc.)

Then we have one for each year with insurance, rego, rates, electricity/gas/water bills, vax docs for the animals, medical bills etc. They are in the study (the all the time one and this year and last years docs.) That way we just grab those 3 and we are sorted. We'd have all the account numbers etc for everything that we could possibly need.

We would also grab both our computer and our external hard drive.

We also have a tub packed for camping and it has melamine plates and bowls and cutlery and a bundle of cooking stuff (fry pan/knives/chopping boards/cooker etc). We'd just have to chuck food in and we'd be self sufficient for a little while. It is with our camp beds etc and easy to get in the garage. Though if we were close to catastrophic I'd bring it up into the house.

#7 sāta kōrsa

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

We have a waterproof bag in the cupboard near the door.  It contains a folder for any essential paperwork, a few usb sticks full of photos and a compactly stored raincoat for every member of the family.  We're also working on having muesli bars and bottled water in there that we'll refresh from time to time, as well as at least one change of clothes for each family member.  We're in an unusual area that is both near water and the bush so we try to be ready for anything!

#8 VeritasVinum

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

Was have most papers and photos scanned and on cloud storage and backups at my folks, MIL and in bank vault (also original papers there too).

When traveling we email ourselves copy of passport CC etc so if stuff is lost/stolen it is easier to cancel and replace.

Important family numbers I have in my Brain (memorised).

My handbag always sits near the front door so if leaving by that method grab as I go.

Otherwise, everything is replaceable, human lives are not.



#9 VeritasVinum

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:36 PM

Our pre digital photos we are scanning too.



#10 *melrose*

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

We have a safe. Small safe that is.

My dad put a safe in his house and had it bottled to the floor in his room, so if there was a fire that safe would be the only one standing as it was fire proof.

#11 Kalota

Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:45 PM

We used to have a fire safe, but we have now moved to an area much less fire-prone so we no longer have one. However, we make sure all important items are easily accessible should their be an emergency.

We have a filing cabinet with removable files, for every single one of our important documents. In the case of an emergency, we just open the filing cabinet and remove/lift the files out to take them with us!

Photos are stored in a container in our wardrobe, the rest are stored on my computer.

The only heirloom we really have is my engagement ring which I wear all the time.

So all we'd have to do in an emergency would be to grab the files, container, and computer.




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