SAN DIEGO — Every year as the Santa Ana winds kick up, local residents make mental notes of the things they’d take with them if a fire was headed their way. Sometimes they even put a few things by the front door – photos, jewelry, baby books.
Identification, property records and health insurance cards are a few of the things that should be packed away in an easy-to-carry, easy-to-access “financial grab ‘n’ go box,” and they’re crucial to the homeowners’ recovery should they lose their property, the county’s consumer expert says.
“These are records that would be necessary to establish your identity, apply for aid and start rebuilding your life,” said Patti Wooten Swanson, Nutrition, Family and Consumer Science Advisor in the county’s Farm and Home Advisor Office.
“Packing these items ahead of time gives you peace of mind and allows you to concentrate on the most important thing in an emergency: getting yourself and your loved ones out safely,” Wooten Swanson said.
For their “financial grab ‘n’ go box,” residents should gather important documents and photocopy or scan them. Add cash – about $50 per person – and a credit card, if desired.
Place it all in re-sealable plastic bags and store them in a portable, secure, waterproof and fireproof container. Store the box in an easy to-reach place and make sure everyone in the household knows where it is.
Among the documents to copy: IDs, a photo of each family member, marriage and divorce papers, adoption and birth records; important phone and account numbers and e-mail addresses; credit cards and loans; tax returns; medical information; property records; and estate planning documents.