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When a major natural disaster strikes, the American Red Cross and other relief agencies often set up temporary shelters in schools, churches and municipal buildings.  The services these agencies and their volunteers provide is noble and often selfless.  These individuals have earned our gratitude.  However, I’d prefer not to find myself in the position of having to depend on such.  I believe its much better to be prepared to care for your own family at home (assuming it remains safe).  Furthermore, shelters aren’t necessarily the safest places themselves and you are typically greatly restricted from bringing certain personal belongings with you.  But if I had to go into such a shelter, there’s one thing I’d be taking with me.

I created a three ring binder that contains various important papers for each member of my family.  In it, I have copies of drivers licenses, passports, home and vehicle ownership records, birth certificates, insurance information, etc.  Any one of these items could come in very handy in the event of an emergency or bug out situation when you may have to provide identification or proof of ownership.  Of course I keep many of the originals in a safe, and if I did take this binder with me, I’d guard it with my life.  But if you had to suddenly leave your home in a hurry, could you put your hands on these items within minutes?  Even if you never find yourself in such an emergency, you’ll find it very convenient to have such a file within reach.  This is a cheap form of insurance that may very well help you through a trying time.  Consider putting one together today.