Make sure you have hard copies of these documents for post-disaster life rebuilding

You don’t have to be a hardcore prepper to give some thought to the kinds of documents and personal records you’ll need after an widespread emergency.

Once life gets back to normal (or a new normal, in the case of a zombie apocalypse), vital documents will be necessary “to prove who you are and what property is yours, in order to claim it after the fact,” OffTheGrid News points out.

Although a traditional natural disaster and/or a weather event is the most likely scenario, such as the current Oroville Dam crisis in northern California that has prompted a mass evacuation in Butte and Yuba counties.

Health Ranger Mike Adams, the founder of Natural News, has detailed other calamities that might occur such as a widespread power outage caused by an EMP wave or a solar flair, a nuke attack, or a civil insurrection of some kind. [RELATED: Read more about disaster preparedness at]

As a practical matter in these depressing scenarios that hopefully will never occur, OffTheGrid has compiled a list of documents that will likely prove necessary to rebuild your life and that of your family once the dust settles.

These include personal IDs such as driver’s licenses, passports, and military identification/proof of military service, the title to your house and car (which for many people is usually stashed in a safe deposit box), birth certificates and marriage licenses, and other licenses such as concealed carry permits. Should they become lost as you head for the hills or away from the hills, replacing many of these documents could be a bureaucratic nightmare.

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Other records that may come in handy, according to the recommendation, are health and school documents, financial information of various kinds, and a list of passwords for your online accounts (although you need to proceed with caution with a password collection that could fall into the wrong hands–perhaps develop a code that can conceal them from an outsider). Contact information can also be important, the website adds: “Create a list of everyone who is important to you. You may need to find them or call them for help.”

Once you’ve compiled all this paperwork, scan all of it into your computer as PDFs and then copy the material onto at least two USB thumb drives or CDs, one of which you can give to a family member to carry as you evacuate the area. “Be sure to label them accordingly and create a file system on your flash drive that makes sense. If you ever need those documents, you’ll probably need to be able to find them quickly.”

You could also upload the data to the cloud, assuming civilization hasn’t completely fallen apart which would make retrieval impossible, but there is a security issue with remote storage generally. [RELATED: Read more about survival-related issues at]

The “Emergency Dude” suggests that hardcopy PDFs can be stored in a sealed waterproof pouch in your emergency kit when you need a quick getaway. His list, among other things, also includes a pre-prepared, regularly updated home inventory of anything of value on the premises for later insurance claim processing, insurance policies themselves, wills, and Social Security cards. “If these documents are destroyed, many more additional hours of effort and stress will be needed to get back to normal after a disaster.”

For what it’s worth, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has set forth a similar list of documents that should be kept safe from an emergency or a disaster if at all possible. “Those who don’t have the time or ability to gather all of these documents should focus on the most important and most difficult to replace,” FEMA counsels.



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