By Anastasia and Michael Tsouroupakis
Hurricane Joachim has left devastation in its path, the states of North and South Carolina have experienced record breaking rain and flooding; property has been damaged, homes have been lost, people are missing and worse have died. While we cannot control the weather, what we can do is make ourselves less vulnerable to the elements. One way to do this is to safeguard all your important documents, irreplaceable family photos, and things like spare keys cards etc. Having access to this vital information after a flooding, or even a fire will help you get your life back to normal that much quicker. While we understand this is a daunting task we have broken it down to ten easy steps.
Ready? Here we go:
Step 1: You must decide where you are going to store your documents, in your home, in a safety deposit box at your bank, or in an offsite storage facility. We suggest your home or an offsite facility, particularly if you are already renting a storage unit. The problem with a safety deposit box is you are at the mercy of a banks limited hours however, tragedy hardly EVER strikes during banking hours, and you may require immediate access to particular documents such as extra keys, credit cards, debit cards etc.
Step 2: Once you determine the where, you need to begin locating and collecting your important documents and valuables. Your collections should include things like, birth, marriage and death certificates, passports, SIN cards, deeds, life insurance policies, immunizations records, wills, testaments spare keys, credit cards, debit cards, banking information. In addition, you may want to add sentimental family items such genealogies, photographs, letters etc.
Step 3: Make copies! Either scan or photocopy documents, photos, and letters as a backup.
Step 4: Separate the vitals into two piles, the first pile should consist of documents and items that often used and referred to e.g., spare keys, debit and credit card banking information. The second pile will comprise of those things that will be rarely needed wills, birth certificates, photos etc.
Step 5: Store the often used items in an accordion file and create a master list for easier retrieval.
Step 6: Make a trip to your local hardware store or office supply place and purchase a fireproof safe. There is no point in going through steps 1 through 5 if you are going to store everything a cardboard or plastic storage box that can be destroyed by fire or carried off by a home intruder. We suggest you opt for one of the larger models if not the largest one; more often than not we always underestimate the amount of storage space we need. We also suggest you purchase a series waterproof sleeves and boxes to store your important documents and valuables within the safe.
Step 7: If you are storing your fireproof safe at home ensure the safe is in a spot that is hidden, dry and bolted in place.
Step 8: If you choose a storage facility make sure you know exactly where within the unit the safe is and that it can be easily accessed. Don’t place heavy boxes and pieces of furniture around it, this will make opening the safe impossible without rearranging boxes and furniture.
Step 9: Tell someone. Don’t keep the existence and the location of your safe a secret from everyone; tell one trustworthy person the location and the combination of your safe. If you use a storage facility for this, tell management that this individual is authorized enter your unit on your behalf. If you and your family find yourself out of town this person can retrieve a set of spare car keys, credit card etc. without any hassle.
Step 10: Don’t delay, get started TODAY.