Disaster Preparedness Checklist: How to Safeguard Your Home and Family

Here are some tips for disaster preparedness as well as advice for replacing important legal documents should they be damaged or lost. While it is difficult to pick up the pieces after a natural disaster, there are ways to prepare yourself and your loved ones for the worst case scenario. At Legal Aid Society, we recommend being prepared for tough situations, such as flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes and other events that could threaten your livelihood and safety. Here are some tips for disaster preparedness as well as advice for replacing important legal documents should they be damaged or lost. 

Disaster Preparedness Checklist

  • Disaster Preparedness Kit: Creating a kit of bottle water, flashlights, batteries, first aid, prescription medications and non-perishable foods will be vital in case of an emergency. The Red Cross has helpful tips for the type of supplies you will need in different disaster scenarios. 
  • Emergency Contacts: Keeping your phone charged at all times is always a good idea, and having portable chargers on hand can help greatly during emergencies. We recommend having emergency alerts on your phone to be aware of severe weather, and also making sure you have emergency contact information on hand. 
  • Plan & Practice: Rehearsing the steps of an evacuation plan with your family can make the difference in a real emergency. Make sure the entire family is aware of the proper exit or shelter plans, depending on the type of disaster, and know how to shut off the water and gas in your home. If you live with young children, pets, disabled or elderly family members, be sure to adapt your plan to include their needs and mobility.
  • Legal Preparations: While it is difficult to imagine the types of scenarios in which you may need it, it is important to have a power of attorney or will ready and in a safe location to assist your family through decisions if a loved one cannot make health decisions for themselves.

While it is stressful, planning ahead of time for the worst case scenario can help you move with clarity and purpose during an emergency, keeping everyone safer in the long run. 

Moving Forward After A Disaster

Even if you keep important documents properly stored, they can sometimes become lost or damaged beyond repair during a natural disaster. Here are some tips for making sure it is as easy as possible to get back on your feet in case you lose any of the important items listed below: 

  • Valid Forms of ID: Your social security number, marriage license, driver’s license, passport, or life insurance paperwork can count as forms of identification. You will need proof of your identity to obtain copies of other official documents, so memorizing your social security number will help greatly during this process as it is an acceptable form of I.D.
  • Replacing I.D.: There is no fee to get a new social security card here. If you lose your driver’s license, you may get a new one for a small fee here.
  • Replacing Credit or Debit Cards: Call your bank or credit card company for instructions on replacing these cards. 
  • Birth Certificates: This website will allow you to replace your birth certificate. 

Our team at the Legal Aid Society cares deeply about your safety. While nothing can stop a natural disaster from occurring, there are steps you can take to mitigate the level of damage and stress that it causes for you and your loved ones. Keeping you and your family physically safe is of prime importance. Important legal documents can help you get back on your feet after issues occur, but if they are lost, know that they can be replaced!


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