Email yourself you entire contact list and important info such as bank accounts, insurance policy numbers, passwords and addresses to all of your on-line accounts, resume, etc. Just tuck them into a sub-folder somewhere under an innocuous name. Also keep a copy of this stuff on a USB drive that you carry on you at all times. I’m sure with all the smart phones out there you have (like me) most of this stuff in it, but there is an old saying that I first heard on Survivalblog.com “2 is 1, and 1 is none”. Which means if you drop your phone and it breaks you are SOL. I’ve lost 2 different phones in the last year, and had to manually replace all of my contacts because for some reason they do not backup easily.
Speaking of phones, did you know that in a disaster the phone system will be completely blocked up and virtually unusable? I remember in the Loma Prieta quake in ’89, I was in Georgia, and could not call home for three days because the phone lines were clogged up. Now days there are alternatives:
1 Text messaging uses a different bandwidth (I think) and you can text when the speaking portion of the phone won’t work.
2 If your smartphone is capable, Email and Facebook are excellent forms of communication so that everyone can either know you are safe, or where to send rescue personnel if you’re in trouble.
Please make sure that you have printouts of all of your contacts as well. If you should break your phone and not have computer access, you will need to have a paper backup.
On top of this, you should consider getting some form of power backup. Solar panels, power inverters, crank powered chargers etc. All work to one degree or another. You definitely need to have some sort of backup in case of blackout if your phone is your lifeline.
Part of Communications and Home prep is to put everything down in an easy to read binder. I’m going to be developing one soon in Excel for all of you, that should have checklists, contacts, maps (You’ll be able to paste your own in from Google Maps or MapQuest) evacuation plans, and anything else I can think of that need to be in there. Suggestions are welcomed, and I will continually update it as I learn better ways to do things.
Select two meeting places for your family or friend group. One near your home in case of fire and a second place outside of your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
Keep important papers, photos and records in a water and fireproof container. I have a removable drive with everything from my Ex’s computer including all of my kid’s pictures which I would be devastated to loose.
My friends at Stanislaus Preparedness Group are advocates of HAM radio communication. I agree with them, and plan on taking the necessary classes as soon as I can.