Vital Records

Disasters not only affect community infrastructure and public works, but they often overcome family finances, making recovery difficult and sometimes impossible.  Start by completing an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (PDF - 977 Kb) created in partnership with Operation HOPE.

Research shows that while 71% of households reported having copies of important financial documents in a safe place, only 1% specifically mentioned the documents as being part of their household disaster supplies.  Only 2% of households reported having cash as part of their disaster preparedness supplies.

Pre-disaster financial planning is essential for inpiduals and families to complete because disasters leave many Americans without access to finances or with expensive damages.

The EFFAK is a simple tool designed to assist you and your family in being financially prepared before a disaster strikes and maintaining financial stability in the event of an emergency. EFFAK helps you to identify and organize key financial records and provides a quick reference file for your most important financial documents.

One kit per household is recommended, although in the event one kit is used for a couple, all joint and separate accounts and liabilities should be included.

Inventory Home Possesions

Make a record of your personal property for insurance purposes. Take photos or a video of the interior and exterior of your home. Include personal belongings in your inventory. You may also want to download the free Household and Personal Property Inventory Book from the University of Illinois to help you record your possessions .

Important Documents

Obtain property, health and life insurance if you do not have them. Review existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards.

Store important documents such as insurance policies, deeds, property records and other important papers in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box away from your home. Make copies of important documents for your disaster supplies kit. Having such information handy should make the registration process for FEMA benefits smoother, should you be involved in a presidentially declared disaster.


Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. It is advisable to keep a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks at home in a safe place where you can quickly access them in case of evacuation. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATM’s and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.

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