What to keep in a Grab and Go box

I know several people who were recently faced with the very real possibility of being evacuated from their homes due to emergencies (fire and hurricane).  Growing up in an area that had a lot of tornadoes, I know that deciding what to take with you in an emergency (in my case, only to the basement) can add a lot of stress to an already terrifying situation.  One idea to relieve some of the stress is to create a a 'Grab and Go’ box.

A Grab and Go box is a container that is easily picked up and taken out of the home during a disaster or emergency. The records that are stored in a Grab and Go box are just as accessible as the other records kept at home. The difference between them is that the records stored in the Grab and Go box need more security and are more important than other papers filed at home.

A portable fireproof and waterproof container that can be locked is recommended. Store important papers in file folders and place the folders in sealed, waterproof plastic bags inside the box. Keep the box accessible because there are some items you may need to use often, unless you make copies for your home file cabinet.

In the event of an emergency, grab the box as you leave, along with the external hard drive for your computer if you have one. During your evacuation, be sure to keep the Grab and Go box with you at all times; do not leave it in an unattended car.

Your Grab and Go box could include items mentioned below: 

  • Passports
  • A copy of your driver’s license
  • A copy of your auto registration and insurance card
  • A copy of health and dental insurance cards with contact information
  • A list of children’s immunizations
  • A list of medicines and prescription numbers, including eyeglass prescription
  • A copy of your organ donor card
  • Copies of wills, trusts, and power of attorney
  • Your external hard drive or back-up disks used to store home computer files
  • The key to your safe deposit box and the combination to your safe
  • A list of financial accounts with names of financial institution and account numbers
  • Copies of items in your safe deposit box such as stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit; real estate deeds and titles; loans, lease, and debt agreements; mortgage documents; vehicle titles; etc.
  • A copy of birth, adoption, marriage, divorce, and death certificates
  • A copy of your citizenship papers
  • A copy of your military service records, draft registration cards Enough cash or traveler’s checks to cover living expenses for several days, since ATMs may not be operable during a disaster
  • Emergency phone numbers for family members, doctors, pharmacies, and financial advisors.

Did I miss anything?  What do you think should be included in a 'Grab and Go' box?

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.