R. Ann Parris on Important Docs & Info Backups


Important Docs & Info Backups by R. Ann Parris

While we’re busy stockpiling supplies and preparing to defend our castles, we might want to pay some mind to preparing and storing information as well. Making backups of important documents and information can save us time in a crisis and protect us if our primaries are lost to fires, floods, theft and other damages.

Some information will only apply if some areas or levels of society are still functioning, but others apply even in times when the existing infrastructure is fractured.

Ideally, we’ll collect and keep that data in at least two forms: a hardcopy binder, and online. The latter can be as easy as setting up an email account just for extra information and sending ourselves information in the body and attachments.

We might keep a few items in hardcopy in our vehicles and-or our evac kits or bugout bags as well.

We can also add electronic storage devices like USB thumb drives, old phones, or portable hard drives. Those options increase what we can readily store and carry, moving beyond must-have’s and into “that’s nice” items like photos.

Insurance Information like agency and claims contact numbers and policy numbers are vital, particularly if a family member is dealing with them instead of “us” or we’ve lost our devices in whatever calamity occurred.

Other Contacts are equally important. A list of schools, supervisors/coworkers’ numbers, family and friends, and even our doctors/veterinarians protects us if we don’t have the phones so many of us now rely on.
*Don’t forget addresses and email contacts as well as phone numbers.

Current Photos can be important and save time if a loved one or animal goes missing. Having photos on hand (along with others) can also help end debate about ownership in some cases. Include scars, birthmarks, tattoos, and make note of things that will show up on an x-ray such as old breaks and implants.

Identifications – I’m not quick to stick these on devices like phones/computers or online, but having a backup, especially if we have a special ID like law enforcement, veteran/retiree, or access card or are traveling or living on a visa or green card can make things a bit easier, especially if there’s widespread chaos, a mugging/theft, etc.

Current Medication Lists – Both prescription and OTC drugs taken daily and periodically should be not only on file in multiple locations, but also in a wallet, ID carrier, or (if possible) attached to any health alert bracelets or necklaces that are worn.

Other Useful Backups Includes…
➢ Birth certificates, adoption paperwork (animals, too), marriage certificates
➢ Insurance claim documentation (valuable pieces, model/serial numbers, condition pictures, proof of collections)
➢ Rental/lease agreements
➢ Deeds, titles
➢ Wills
➢ DD-214 & equivalents
➢ Proof of social security/disability
➢ Prescriptions (glasses, too)
➢ List of firearm models & serial numbers
➢ Vehicle VINs & tag numbers
➢ Websites, addresses, and phone numbers of banks, credit unions, safe deposit boxes, PO boxes, etc. with login/username cues and coded passwords if necessary
➢ Emergency contacts (numbers & addresses)

Other information we might consider – especially for a vehicle and travel bag – includes locations and numbers to police departments, hospitals/veterinarians, and embassies. If we’re traveling, make sure we list them for each state/territory and county we’ll be passing through (airports for layovers as well). We might also include locations like churches, animal shelters, veteran’s associations or nearby military bases, and emergency shelters.

All kinds of disaster make backup information handy to have. Even small-scale disasters that affect only individuals, families, or relatively small regions can be devastating – and complicated further by our inability to contact help and access information.

It can be accomplished in small increments of time, and inexpensively, so there’s no excuse for putting it off. It’s not the sexiest of preps, but it can be the most useful thing we’ll compile for our families.