The first and most important step when setting up an emergency response plan is emergency preparedness, made possible by conducting a risk assessment and identifying potential risks and strategies on how to curb them. Everybody needs an emergency preparedness plan, be it at home, at the workplace or any social gathering since emergency is a situation of when and not if it occurs. How quick you recover from a disaster and resume normal life significantly depend on the level of preparation put in place. Besides, emergency preparedness often cushion individuals from the deleterious impacts of an accident. Examples of natural disasters that require emergency preparedness are floods, blizzards, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Also, human-made disasters such as explosions, fires, chemical, and biological attacks should be covered while scheming an emergency response plan.

Emergency preparedness is a relevant topic for many people, according to a 2004 Harris poll, 96% of Americans appreciate the essence of emergency preparedness. However, less than 20% admit to by confidently prepared for an emergency. Crucial in ascertaining emergency is the emergency preparedness document check.  Emergencies strike without warning leaving you with minimal time to collect yourself and respond appropriately, without planning and preparation, crises often turn fatal and extensively destructive.

Whereas some parts of a disaster preparedness kit are effortless to recall, such as food and medicine, others even though vital are less likely to be recognized. Among the things that many people often tend to forget about is the critical documents they need in the event of relocation due to an emergency that raze down the original habitat. Restoring normalcy if such crucial documents are destroyed can be an uphill task and thus it is usually safe to have an emergency documents checklist to ensure you are in proper contact with all your essential documents during, in and after an emergency, this way you are likely to recuperate very quickly.

Some of the vital personal documents that will enhance your recovery in an emergency situation as simulated in the emergency paperwork can be categorized as follows:

Medical documents

Emergencies are probable of causing physical trauma that will necessitate the need for medical attention. The faster you can access medical care the better the prognosis and healing from injuries obtained during disaster thus having medical documents for proof and service is essential and you should have a space for the same in your emergency kit. Medical insurance records, past medical history, allergy information, and vaccination records are some of the vital document that will help in availing of individualized medical care to victims of disasters.

You will be astonished when you create a list of all the vital documents that you have and take for granted. If the documents unfortunately get destroyed, a lot of time, effort, and stress will be encountered while driving things back to normalcy after the disaster. You may be subjected to longer duration of pain and agony in the absence of the critical medical documents. Besides, these documents are useful in guiding the healthcare provisional while attending to you.

Financial documents

All the necessary financial records and data should never miss in your personal document checklist. After an emergency, you are going to need some finance to help you stabilize and start a new life. Details of credit cards, bank accounts, tax information, and insurance coverage should be well stored and easily accessible after an emergency as they will influence the aftermath of the disaster. You may be required to flee from the scene and settle somewhere else, and all these will depend on your financial prowess. In case of covered risks such as a fire at homes, you will require insurance policy documents to claim for compensation. Therefore, it is mandatory that you include all your financial documents probably a photocopy in the disaster preparedness checklist.

Family documents

The family is the epitome of life, without family life can be meaningless especially when you lose contact after a disaster. Good practice in emergency preparedness model recommend that you establish a convenient meeting point where you can gather together with your family in the event of an emergency. Frequent training on emergency response, drills and sometimes table-top simulation are paramount in ensuring emergency preparedness.

Essential family documents checklist vital in emergency situations include; birth certificates, marriage and divorce certificates, social security cards, family photographs, and adoption papers. These documents are crucial in instances where homes are destroyed, and even death occur. Memories with family are priceless and can be a point of solace even in agony that comes with disaster.

Legal documents

Consequences of emergency can sometimes be political for instance, the Haiti earthquake of 2010 led to several deaths and displacement of persons. After that, several legal battles came up during resettlement and inheritance procedure. To avoid finding yourself in such a situation following an emergency, it is essential to have all your legal documents safely stored in the emergency prep kit.

Some of the legal documents that should appear in the personal preparedness checklist include: a will, a living will that determine your treatment course, citizenship documents, trust documents and a power of attorney to grant someone you trust the authorities to execute duties on your behalf in case of incapacitation. The availability of these documents among other legal documents depending on preferences and conditions will help quell conflicts that arise after a disaster usually adding salt to the injury.

Having an emergency preparedness kit is a prudent idea, keeping vital documents in the package is wise. Nobody knows when and how the disaster will strike and preparation is the best prophylaxis for an emergency. Emergency preparedness documents should be stored well and secure from the extreme external conditions that come with disaster. Waterproof cases for essential documents keep your records safe and easily accessible after an emergency. Besides, you can scan some of the crucial documents and store the data in electronic devices or over the internet in your emails. You have no clue of the hour when a potential disaster will materialize, therefore, having the essential utilities at your disposal will ensure your family’s safety including financial security when calamity strikes.