Mission 2 Organize

Documents You Need to Find in Case of an Emergency



The nature of life is so fragile. In a matter of seconds, our lives and our plans can get turned upside down by things totally out of our control! We all know this, but there is no point in going through life worrying about all of the bad things that could happen. That would be a waste of our energy and imagination.

We should probably live life as if we’ll live forever and nothing can shake our cores. We live life to the fullest, but there is no harm in doing a little work to prepare for all the “what if”s that might meet us along the road. One way to be prepared is to have an emergency kit ready to go at all times. It’s a good idea to have your vital documents alongside essential survival items so, in case of an emergency, you can just grab them and go.

First, you need to gather all of the essential papers. We’ll give you more details on exactly which ones you need soon but remember that It’s important to make copies of your vital documents. If you need to have the original copy in your emergency box do so but make sure the box is safe and secure. If a copy would suffice in an emergency, perhaps place that copy in your emergency box and keep the original in a secure location like a safe deposit box or fire proof safe for security purposes.

Nowadays with secure online storage and external hard drives, it’s an easy and practical choice to digitize your documents. Your best option is to digitize all the items and only keep the absolutely necessary items in your emergency kit bag. You can store the hard drive in a safe at home, your office, or a bank deposit box. One benefit of storing your files digitally is that you can store as much as you’d like on just one little device and then store them in few different safe places.

Take photo or video documentation of your belongings so that you can submit them to your insurance. Save them online or digitize them on a flash drive and keep them in your emergency bag for insurance claims.

For offline storage, pick a place in your home or office that is easy to access in case of an emergency then find a container that fits in this location. You want this document holder to be water and fire proof and if it has a handle it’ll be easy to grab and go.

Online or offline, it is a really good idea to create a master index sheet to track your documents. Below is a fairly detailed list of items to include on this list and in your emergency kit. You can choose to be as minimalistic or exhaustive as you want.


Identification Papers (High Priority)


Adoption and custody documents

Birth, marriage, and death certificates

Citizenship/immigration papers

Military papers

Passports/travel documents

Pet identification documents

Social security cards





Medical Documents (High Priority)





Medical conditions

Medical history summary




Contact information (High Priority)


Names & phone numbers of:

  • Financial advisor
  • Friends & relatives, in and out of state
  • Insurance agent
  • Lawyer






Legal Documents (Medium Priority)


Insurance policies (life, health, vehicle, home, hazard, as well as pet insurance etc.)

Mortgage documents

Motor vehicle titles

Real estate deeds

Title papers

Wills and trusts



Title Records (Low Priority)

Bank, checking, savings account numbers or certificates

Credit card accounts (company and account numbers)

Employee benefits information

Family health and medical records

Funeral and burial plans

Government issued identification

Investment portfolio

Letter of instruction in case of death

Photocopy of documents carried in wallet or purse

Stocks, bonds and other securities



Below is a list of items that are also worth digitizing and keeping on a hard or flash drive.





Family photos, videotapes, etc.

Family genealogy records

Personal family history






May you sail through life on the calmest sea yet prepare for any storm that may arise.

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