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15 Documents You’ll Need To Rebuild Your Life (Post-Disaster)

15 Documents You'll Need To Rebuild Your Life (Post-Disaster)

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A big part of survival and preparedness is focused on the big event – like a supervolcano erupting or an EMP attack taking down the grid. But the reality is, we’re much more likely to face those smaller, regional disasters than we are something that takes down the country.

If that’s the case, then one thing that we have to think of is what’s going to happen after the event. Much of our focus is on surviving the disaster itself and its aftermath, when the power is out and supplies are hard to come by. But there will be a time when we recover from that disaster and either return to normal or some new definition of normal.

When that time comes, we need to be ready to rebuild our lives. Not rebuild it as Grizzly Adams — living in a log cabin in the woods — but as normal people, living relatively normal lives: going to work, evenings in front of the TV, and taking the kids to their activities.

Should that happen, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to be able to prove who you are and what property is yours, in order to claim it after the fact.

Documents You Need

So the question is: What documentation do you really need? That’s a tricky one, as none of us know exactly what we’re going to face.

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15 Documents You'll Need To Rebuild Your Life (Post-Disaster)

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We also have to consider the necessity of rebuilding our lives in another location. So, we won’t only need ownership documents for our home and cars, but records of every facet of our lives.

  1. Personal identification — Driver’s licenses, school IDs, passports and anything else that defines you and the various members of your family.
  2. Current ID photos of all family members – Both headshots and full length.
  3. Home title – The ultimate proof of home ownership.
  4. Car titles and registration – For each car, truck, camper, boat, motorcycle or trailer that you own.
  5. Marriage license – Make sure it is a real copy and not just the decorative one that some weddings use.
  6. Birth certificates – For every member of the family.
  7. Licenses – If there is anything you’re licensed or certified to do, then you want to be able to prove it. This includes driver’s license, concealed carry permit, trade licenses, computer certifications, and anything else that you might have to prove to someone.
  8. School records – If you have children in school, make copies of all their records and include them. Make sure you add records of your own education, especially higher education, whether in a university or trade school.
  9. Health records – This one will be a bit difficult, but your doctor’s office should be able to supply you with them. Some medical records can help in identifying people. If you are taking any medications, be sure to have records of what they are and why you are taking them.
  10. Investment records — Copies of stocks, bonds and other negotiable securities.
  11. Bank records — Information on all bank accounts and online financial accounts. You might want to put that in some sort of code, so that others can’t read it easily.
  12. Passwords – Once again, possibly in some simple code.
  13. Tax records – You can be sure that the IRS, like a vampire, will survive.
  14. Work history – If you have to rebuild your life, that might include finding a new job.
  15. Contact information – We no longer learn people’s phone numbers and addresses, counting on our smart phones to remember them for us. Create a list of everyone who is important to you. You may need to find them or call them for help.

Make It Safe And Secure

Obviously, you can make paper copies of some of that, but carrying copies of all of it would require a pretty good size notebook. Fortunately, technology has come to the rescue, providing us with the compact means of carrying all of it.

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15 Documents You'll Need To Rebuild Your Life (Post-Disaster)

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I refer to the flash drive. You can put all that, and more, on a flash drive that weighs less than an ounce and easily slips into your pocket. They now have flash drives that will connect to tablets as well, with a micro USB connector on them, in addition to the regular USB connector. Those are better, especially if you are taking a tablet or smartphone along with you.

Scan everything onto your computer and make copies. It would be best to put them into a .PDF format, rather than a .JPG or other image format. Be sure to label them accordingly and create a file system on your flash drive that makes sense. If you ever need those documents, you’ll probably need to be able to find them quickly.

I’d also recommend making a second copy, either on another flash drive or on a CD. This copy should be carried by another family member, so that if one backpack is lost, you don’t lose both copies. Like everything else in survival, redundancy is important.

What would you add to our list? Do you disagree with anything? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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3 comments

  1. Add DD Form 214- proof that you served in the Military

  2. Another great way to store any digital information for the long haul is to get some M-disc DVDs or BluRay discs, if you have a disc burner that supports them. M-discs are designed to last 1000 years without data loss. I put all my important stuff on them and store one set in a safe deposit box at my bank.

  3. Let’s not forget vaccine records- even if you don’t want to take any more, it would be good to prove what yu have already taken- this was my mistake as a 41 yr old going into nursing school, my mother had my shot records and didn’t know where they were so I retook all my childhood vaccines, what could it hurt, right? 13 years of chronic diarrhea which morphed into other illnesses and tooth losses etc , I have never recovered.

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