I just got back from visiting friends in New York. They live on the Lower East Side, which was one of the areas affected by hurricane Sandy – in fact, they were one block away from the evacuation zone. So many people lost so much due to Sandy, and it got me thinking about how important it is to be prepared for emergencies.
Most emergency preparation centers around the basic necessities – food, warm clothing, medical supplies, etc. – and without question, these are critical. But you can’t ignore the other essential things you might need in an emergency – the title to your house or the lease for your apartment, your insurance policy, copies of your IDs, and more. Without access to your important information in an emergency, many things are made extra difficult in an already stressful situation.
With some advance planning, you can use Evernote to create a secure and shareable spot to centralize your important information. In the event of a disaster, even if your main computer is wiped out, you can always use the Evernote web version to access your information.
Of course, without power, you wouldn’t have access to your notes. However, you could let someone you trust who lives in another location access your notes using the web version. Or, if you’d previously shared your emergency notes with your insurance agent or trusted friend, they’d already have access to your critical documents. That way, they can access your information in the event of an emergency – even if you can’t.
Here are some ideas of emergency preparedness documents and information you can store in Evernote:
At home: Use Evernote’s photo capture function to store copies of your IDs, insurance cards (front and back). Scan in copies of your insurance policies, lease or rental agreement, title to your home, and pink slip for your car. It’s also a smart idea to scan in any estate or trust documents. You can also create a list of all your emergency contacts – both personal ones, as well as any vendors that you might need to contact (including banks, credit card companies, utilities, etc.). If you have any special medical needs or prescriptions, you can list those in Evernote, and if you have a copy of your prescription, you can either scan it in, or take a photo of it (you can also snap a pic of the bottle with your prescription on it). If you’ve created a home inventory (especially a photo-based one), Evernote is an ideal place to keep that as well. You can also scan or take photos of any critical receipts.
At work: A big disaster can mean, well, disaster for your business. Start thinking about what you can put into place to help keep things going in the event of an emergency: What documents might you need to give someone access to in order to keep your business going – even at a skeleton level? Who needs to be notified and what do they need to do? Where are critical files stored? Capture this information in a note in Evernote, and share it with the relevant parties.
I know it’s a bit dour to think about collecting all this information – nobody wants to think that they’ll be affected by a disaster! That said, taking some time to gather your critical information is one essential step in preparing you for whatever unforeseen circumstances may come your way. It’s time well spent.
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