You put safeguards in place to protect your family in an emergency situation. You keep clean drinking water and food storage in your home. You outfit your property with fire extinguishers, first aid kits and other emergency response tools. You compiled a list of emergency contacts.
Then you realised that your family members aren't the only things you need to protect, so you bought a fire-resistant safe. To ensure your safe fully serves its purpose, place these 10 items in it first.
Birth certificates serve as a primary form of identification. In the event of an emergency, you need each family member's birth certificate in a safe place.
Deceased Estate Documents
No one likes to contemplate his or her own death. However, if you passed away in a sudden accident, your family members would need access to your will and any other deceased estate documents. Keep them in a fire-resistant safe in your home or entrust them to an attorney. You shouldn't put these documents in a safety deposit box. After a death, authorities may seal a safety deposit box and delay execution of a will.
Place investment records, bank information, and records of any outstanding debts in your safe. In an emergency, you may not have your check book or even your wallet. Putting these documents aside ensures you have what you need to maintain your finances.
Place any heirlooms, including expensive jewellery, in your safe. Many of these treasures don't survive the high temperatures your safe easily withstands.
Like your finances, you will need to maintain your insurance coverage after an emergency, but you may not have access to your usual resources. Put copies of your car, home and health insurance policies in the safe, along with contact information for your
6. Legal Documents
Include any current legal documents in your safe. You may also want to provide your attorney a copy so you have a backup should one become damaged. You should also include any titles of ownership, pet pedigree information, or other original documents.
Passports serve as primary forms of identification, and many forms of travel require them. Include each family member's passport along with his or her birth certificate.
Prescription Medication Information
If you or any member of your family depend on regular medication, place records of it in your safe. Include a list of prescriptions, physician contact information and pharmacy contact information.
Safety Deposit Box Keys
You probably keep any important items not listed here in a bank safety deposit box. In the event of an emergency, you may need easy access to those items. However, if you lose the keys to your deposit box, it may take a significant amount of time before the bank re-issues them. Keep a set in your safe to prevent any delays.
Social Security Cards
You need the original copy of your social security card when visiting a new doctor, applying for a new job or reviewing any benefits. The process of social security card replacement can prove frustrating, especially if you don't notice it's gone until you need it. Include each family member's card in the fire-resistant box for safekeeping.
Use this list as a guide while you fill your fire-resistant safe. After you safeguard these 10 items, also consider including a CD or disc drive with family photos and any other important keepsakes.
If you don't yet have a fire-resistant safe, consult with a locksmith. He or she can help you decide what safe model best accommodates your possessions.