Safeguard Your Documents

AdminFeature, News

Liliana Munoz, Intern with Carson City Health and Human Services

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday’s health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Whether it is a fire, flood, landslide, or earthquake, disasters can happen at anytime. If you had to evacuate your home because of a disaster, it is important to take some important documents with you. This includes copies of your driver’s license or identification card, medical cards, bank account statement, and insurance policies. Having copies of these things can help you rebuild your life after a disaster.

Operation Hope and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to help families in the event of a disaster.  The EFFAK is a guide on which documents you need to keep in a safe, portable, container  that you can easily access and take with you in case of an emergency.

The EFFAK contains four sections describing the documents that should be included:

Household identification

These document you and the people who live with you, including your relationship or status.

  • Driver’s license
  • Photo ID
  • Birth certificate
  • Social security card
  • Passport
  • Naturalization documents
  • Marriage license
  • Pet ID tags
  • Military service documents

Financial and legal documentation

Having these documents can help to establish service records, re-establish accounts, or be able to speak to companies or creditors.

  • Housing payments
    • Insurance policies
    • Financial accounts
    • Tax statements
    • Sources of income
    • Estate planning
    • Vehicle registration

Medical information

Medical records, medications, and health insurance allow you and your family to receive proper medical care.

  • Health insurance ID card(s)
  • Immunization or shot records
  • List of medications or prescriptions
  • Disability documentation

Household contacts

Sometimes after a disaster the Internet or cell phone services do not work. It is also possible that your cell phone runs out of battery. It is important to have a written list of phone numbers for people who can help you in an emergency.

  • Personal contacts
  • Insurance agent
  • Health professionals
  • Emergency assistance
  • Bank institutions
  • Health professionals

After all your documents are in order, make a copy of your EFFAK, and if possible keep all originals in a secure location, such as an off-site safe deposit box. Keep a copy of your EFFAK at home in a secure fireproof, waterproof container where it can be easily access in case of an emergency or disaster. It is also important to review the list of documents and make updates at least once a year.  

Carson City Health and Human Services urges everyone to take an active role to be prepared for an emergency or disaster. For information on preparing an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, visit   For additional resources and information about our Department programs and services, check out our website at,  “Like” us on Facebook at, follow us on Twitter @CCHealthEd, call us at (775) 887-2190, or visit us at 900 East Long Street in Carson City.