What Should You Include in a Disaster Go Box?
Graphic by Michaela Parker
The New Year has arrived. Whether or not you make resolutions, putting together a disaster go box will help you be ready for all kinds of emergencies that may require you to leave home in a hurry.
Creating one of these boxes is one of the best things you can do for your family because you never know when you’ll experience a flood, tornado, hurricane, storm, or fire.
Here’s how to create the box and an abbreviated list of things to include in the box. For a full list of recommended documents and items to include in your disaster go box, read Extension information sheet 1801.
- Choose a durable box that is portable, waterproof, fire resistant, and preferably lockable.
- File items in the box inside sealed, waterproof bags. You can place items in paper file folders or envelopes before putting the folders in the bags.
- Store the box in a secure place you can get to quickly and easily.
Items to Include
Rolls of quarters
Several blank checks from each bank account
List of phone numbers, email addresses, and other means of contacting friends, family, employers, schools, doctors, pharmacy, insurance agent, and financial institutions.
Copies of all insurance policies and policy numbers, prescriptions, passports, deeds and titles for all property, immunization records for people and pets, tax returns, child custody documents, and employee benefits documents.
All of your original papers should be stored in a safe deposit box at your financial institution. You should also backup all of these documents electronically and store them on a password-protected jump drive.
Items to include:
- Bank account information
- Birth, marriage, and death certificates
- Adoption papers
- Child custody papers
- Copies of passports
- Military and veteran records
- Leases and other contracts
- Stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit
- Trust documents
- Copies of power of attorney, wills, and trusts
- Insurance policies
- Home improvement records and receipts
- Household inventory (list, photos, and/or a digital record)
- Jewelry, precious metals, keepsakes, and other collectibles
Review your box at least annually and update the items as needed.
You should also create an emergency kit that includes food, water, personal care items, entertainment, and other things your family may need. This box will come in handy whether you have to evacuate or need to shelter in place. You can find a list of suggested items to include on the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency’s website.
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