In some situations, you may be forced to evacuate your house and leave most of your belongings behind. If there’s a tsunami warning or your house is in the path of an approaching hurricane, you’ll really have no choice but to get to someplace safe.

One of the biggest problems most people face in the aftermath of a disaster is having to rebuild their lives. In many situations, you’ll be asked for important documents such as your ID or if you’re trying to get a loan to rebuild your house, you’ll need your bank statements and financial information, etc.

* Don’t leave home without them

NEVER ever leave these documents behind when evacuating. One of the best things that you can do is make a Xerox copy of all these important documents and keep them safe in a secondary location. It could be in a storage box or with someone whom you trust.

Sometimes you just may not have time to grab what you need. For example, if the house is on fire, you’ll need to get out ASAP. It’s best to keep all your important documents in one area. The moment you need to leave, you can grab them all, dump them in an airtight bag and leave the house quickly.

* Make a list

When compiling your documents, you want to make a list to make your life easier. The first thing to do will be to make a list of emergency contact information with names and contact numbers.

Your next of kin, doctor, neighbors, relatives, etc. are all numbers you may wish to write down. Laminate this document so that it doesn’t get torn easily. The most important thing is to add the contacts and numbers that are relevant to you.

* Documents you may wish to take

Contact information of your lawyers, insurance companies, doctors, bankers, etc. Your driver’s license, education certificates, bank information and passwords, social security card, credit card information, adoption papers, medical and dental information, marriage certificate, religious certificates, your will (if you have one), stock certificates, business registration (if you have one), passport, concealed weapon permits, library cards, Medicare documents, website passwords and anything else that is important to you.

When making copies, it’s best to make copies of both sides of each document. You may even wish to make an extra copy of all the documents, fold them up and put them in a waterproof, airtight bag that’s in a different part of the house.

If there’s a natural disaster the destroys one part of the house that has all your important documents, the other part may have the copies that you can still grab and go. This is just for added convenience. You’ll not need to travel to the secondary location to get your other set.

Do note that each family member will have documents related to them too. Your kids will have their own birth certificates and medical information. Compile all their documents too… and make copies of them.

It’s always best to do it during times of peace. Do not wait till disaster strikes before you run around the house looking for all the different documents. Prepare it all as soon as you can when things are still sane.