Copy, Keep, Carry Documents


Whether you’re bugging out with your bug-out bag or staying put with a well-thought-out, self-sufficient homestead plan, make sure you always have quick and easy access to the important documents in your life. Make at least two copies of the originals, and store them in different locations where they can be grabbed at a moment’s notice. It’s important to update these records often. Outdated information will help no one.

In the case of an emergency there are countless scenarios wherein you will need documents to prove that you are who you say you are and your claims are true and accurate. This is especially true when children are involved. If you can’t prove that you are their parent, today’s State and Federal security laws prohibit schools from releasing them to you, and medical facilities will not treat them. With that said, the following is a list of suggested documents to copy and keep together in one place for access upon a moment’s notice.

Personal identification copies for each individual’s packet

  • Driver’s license (original if possible)
  • Birth certificate (certified copy)
  • Passport (original if possible)
  • Social Security card (certified copy or original)
  • Other Government Issue ID Card (Federal employees, professional ID)

Family identification copies for all family members’ packets

  • Photo ID for all family members (driver’s license, school ID, Kidsafe ID)
  • Individual photo of each family member (up to date)
  • Family photo (clear enough to identify each member)
  • Pet identification (registration, photo with family member, vet records)

Important documents for adult family member’s packets

  • Health records for all family members (blood type, allergies, general medical history, doctor’s notes, special needs, closest family member contact info, donor/consent forms, etc.)
  • Insurance documents (home, car, health, life, etc.) showing account Info
  • Bank account statement (showing routing/account numbers)
  • Certified title copies (home, car, boat, etc.)
  • Credit/debit card copies
  • Personal bank checks
  • Retirement/Investment account statements (showing account numbers)
  • Other financial details (certified copy of will, parent’s will, taxes, etc.)
  • Marriage certificate, divorce decrees or legal guardian proof

Important documents for each individual’s packet

  • Individual health records (see list above)
  • Hard copy of important contacts (parents, siblings, friends, school, etc.)
  • Cash (small Bills for making change, amount varies per person, at least $40)
  • Pre-paid phone card (at least $10)

Give document copies to external family

One last tip: If you plan to place one set of documents in your bug-out bag, make sure it is in a waterproof container and don’t lose them.

–Austin Fletcher

Personal Liberty

Austin Fletcher

is the Executive Director of Category Five, a Preparedness Education Network, and is a prepper at heart. After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in Global Business Management, Austin spent seven years in pastoral ministry while building ministry and business relationships around the globe. During that time he became keenly aware of the coming financial storm that is upon us today, and has been prepping ever since. For this reason, in early 2009, Austin and his team at Category Five began to change the original purpose of the organization to become what it is today. Prepping is not about being an expert in survival or having experience as a former Special Forces soldier; prepping is about building on the strengths of those you prepare with and educating yourself about things you can control. This is the idea behind the Category Five, and the necessity of a Preparedness Education Network.

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