In this ongoing effort to provide 30 ways in 30 days for individuals and families to become better prepared for emergencies, I have stressed the importance of having a Family Emergency Plan. If you have not yet done so; you can download a Family Emergency Plan Template here:
Yesterday I stressed the importance of a communications component to your Family Emergency Plan, and if you didn't have a chance yet to review that please be sure to do so.
Today I would like to address vital records, which will be a necessary part of your plan. In keeping with yesterday's communications theme, think about important contact information that should be included in your plan.
How many phone numbers do you actually remember, once they are programmed into your speed dial, or your smart phone? You won't be any smarter than the phone if the important records cannot be accessed because your battery is dead, or your access to the phone with the pre-programmed speed dial is prohibited either by distance, or for safety reasons.
Make sure to write down important emergency contact information as part of your plan, and have those contacts available to you with copies of your plan in several locations, such as home, work, car, school, summer home, etc. It's also a good idea
Insurance cards are great; except when you don't have them with you. In an emergency, you may not always have access to the information you need when you need it. If your family Emergency Plan has this information included this could serve as a critical link for access to healthcare. Make sure all healthcare policy information is a part of your Family Emergency Plan.
Many family members may need daily medication for chronic conditions or ongoing critical care. Prescription medication types and dosages may change over time, so its important to have access to the most current prescription medication information as a part of your plan. Don't count on the doctor, a hospital, or your local pharmacy to be able to access this information for you after a disaster. You may be unable to communicate with them, or their electronic records systems may not be accessible in an emergency after a disaster.
Making vital records an important part of your Family Emergency Plan can play a critical role in response and recovery from a disaster for your family.