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KPP imagePreparing for emergencies is something that we all should do, yet it’s rarely considered a priority for most and tends to fall by the wayside. We see the possibility of a massive hurricane hurtling toward our neighbors to the south, and breathe a sigh of relief because we won’t suffer a direct hit in our region. But the truth is that here in Massachusetts we can be impacted by severe weather events and other emergencies that could bring significant disruption to our daily lives and displace us from our homes. One of the ways in which you and your family can recover more quickly from emergencies is by taking a gradual step-by-step approach to planning ahead and preparing.

So where do you begin? One low/no-cost activity that you can do from the comfort of your home is to make copies of important files that you might need in and after an emergency. These can be stored in a handy waterproof document bag that you can grab and go if you need to evacuate from your home. And DPH can help you with this. We have created a storage bag that you can order for free that contains a list of those important documents to copy, and it’s printed in English on one side and Spanish on the other. It can be ordered here.

Things to consider putting in your bag include copies of:

  • Photo IDs/driver’s license, Social Security cards, passports
  • Documents (insurance, wills, financial, property, vehicle, credit card contact information)
  • Medical (prescriptions, medications and dosages, doctors’ names/numbers)
  • Vital records (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.)
  • Vaccination records for household members and pets
  • Phone numbers (family, friends, neighbors)
  • Cash

These days, much of our important “paperwork” isn’t on paper. Important documents can exist in digital form on our smart phones, flash drives, and cloud-based servers which are convenient ways to organize and store this information.

Whether you’re comfortable using technology to organize your documents — or you prefer the old-school hard copies — both flash drives and hard copies can be included in your document bag. Once you’ve taken this first step, you can feel confident moving on to the next one in your planning and preparedness activities. To learn more visit mass.gov/knowplanprepare where you can find more easy-to-use tools and resources.

Written By:


in the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management

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