[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch. ]
Today is America’s PrepareAthon! It is a nationwide, community-based campaign that encourages preparedness actions and planning before a disaster or emergency strikes. For more information on this campaign, please visit their website.
It’s not a matter of IF the next disaster will happen, but WHEN.
Disaster preparedness is a large part of the preservation activities at the State Archives of North Carolina and we want to help you and your family be better prepared when a disaster occurs. A disaster can strike anytime and proactive rather than re-active is the best approach. Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared. Below are a few things you can do to start to prepare your family.
- Sign up for local text alerts/warnings and download hazard-related apps to your smartphone.
- Create a family communications plan so that everyone knows how to reach each other and meet each other if separated during an emergency.
- Gathering all of your important documents and keeping them in a safe place.
Records about your family’s identity, health and financial resources are essential to identify, prepare and protect before a disaster occurs. The first step is to determine which records are essential. Your family’s essential family records may include:
- Vital records (birth, marriage, divorce certificate, adoption, child custody papers)
- Passport, driver’s license, Social Security card
- Pet identification and papers
- Financial and legal documents
- Mortgage, leases, deeds
- Vehicle documents
- Accounts: checking, savings
- Insurance policies
- Estate planning: will, trust, power of attorney
- Medical documents (insurance cards, list of medications, immunizations)
- Family photos albums or other historically important records
There are many ways to protect essential records and protection will depend on the quantity and format of the originals. Some of these include fireproof and waterproof containers, flash drives, external hard drives, secure cloud-based services, trusted friend or relative or a combination of all of these.