When an emergency arises, preparation goes hand in hand with organization. While September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to learn what to do in a crisis, these tips apply any time of year.

Natural Disasters

Even if you don’t live in a disaster-prone area, the risk of fire, floods, earthquakes and other unfortunate events exists. Should damage or destruction happen to your property, prepare to make it easier to file insurance claims. Keep original contracts and sales receipts in a safe place, and make copies to store in a second location.


If your wallet or purse gets stolen, you might not only lose money and precious personal belongings but also important information. Keep vital records such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers and the contact information for your financial institutions in a separate place.

Contingency Plans

Your partner, adult children or other designated adults need to know where all policies, contracts, fiscal records and other important documents are located. This includes information for primary doctors, your lawyer and financial advisor, if applicable. In case of emergency, this helps your loved ones know whom to turn to for advice and how to handle your affairs.


To increase your chances for recovering costs of damaged, stolen or lost property, maintain records of all significant purchases. One good way to prove the value of items is to make a video recording of each after the purchase. Speak about the acquisition date, price, warranty and appraisal information.

Additionally, keep all paid-in-full statements. Create a checklist for all important items and share it with appropriate family members. This list can be used in the case of emergency to account for items that survived and to report things that were destroyed or damaged.


Many homeowners have a safe in their home or rent a safety deposit box in which they store important documents. While that’s commendable, having a portable, fireproof box will cut down on document retrieval and property recovery time. The contents of this box should include original birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, property deeds, titles, passports, power of attorney, living wills and financial documents. Additionally, you should back up documents online by utilizing Cloud storage.

No one wants to think the worst and live life with anxiety. However, these basic preparations can actually ease concerns because you’ll have less stress in an emergency when you prepare and organize beforehand.