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Tips for Collecting Emergency Documents

This fact sheet is designed to provide a checklist of activities for people with disabilities to improve their emergency preparedness readiness.


Preparation may seem like a lot of work. It is. Preparing does take time and effort. So do a little at a time, as your energy and budget permit. The important thing is to start preparing. The more you do, the more confident you will be that you can protect yourself, your family and your belongings.



Date Completed

 Complete an emergency contact list.


 Collect emergency documents.




Store emergency contact list and documents

in emergency supply kits, wallet, safe deposit

box and give copies to your personal support

network and out of area contact.



 Update documents every six months.  



Emergency Contact List

Ask several relatives or friends who live outside your immediate area (approximately 100 miles away) to act as a clearinghouse for information about you and your family after a disaster. It is often easier to place an out-of-state long distance call from a disaster area, than to call within the area. All family members should know to call the contact person to report their location and condition. Once contact is made, have the contact person relay messages to your other friends and relatives outside the disaster area. This will help to reduce calling into and out of the affected area once the phones are working.


Emergency Documents

  • Copies of emergency documents should include:
  • Specifications for adaptive equipment in case it needs to be replaced.
  • Proof of ownership or lease of your residence. (This is important when applying for disaster assistance after the disaster.)
  • Social security numbers of family members.
  • Vehicle make, identification and license numbers.
  • Charge and bank account numbers.
  • Insurance policy numbers.
  • Securities, deeds and loan numbers including company name, address and telephone numbers.
  • Will/living trust and letter of instructions.
  • Photos or video of all valuables for documentation of insurance claim. (This inventory should be backed up on disk if it is on computer. Consider documenting your inventory by going through your areas with a video or camera and capture all your possessions on film.)
  • Important business documents.
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates).
  • List style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers.


Store Emergency Documents

  • Store emergency contact list and emergency documents in a tightly sealed freezer bag in emergency supplies. Send a copy to an out of state contact and keep another copy in safety deposit box.
  • Additional copies of emergency contact list and all emergency documents should be stored in emergency supply kits, in your wallet and with your personal support network.


Update Every Six Months

  • Emergency health information card.
  • Emergency contact list.


For more information visit the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco and the American Red Cross

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