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When an emergency arises, having financial and medical records and important contact information on hand can give you peace of mind, ensure you have access to essential medical and prescription information, and help you avoid additional stress during a difficult time.

Consider storing paper copies of important documents at home in a fireproof and waterproof box or safe, in a bank safe deposit box, or with a trusted friend or relative. When storing your documents, you’ll want to protect them from wear and tear. Put documents in a plastic sleeve and then file in a binder or box. The binder can then go inside your safe. Each document should be in its own plastic page. If you are using a safe deposit box, you may want to ask your bank or check state laws to confirm who can and cannot access the safe deposit box if the lessee dies or is incapacitated.

Store electronic copies of important documents in a password-protected format on a removable flash or external hard drive in your fireproof and waterproof box or safe, or consider using a secure cloud-based service. 

Think about where you store valuable belongings and ways to better protect these items. If you have valuable items stored in a basement, you may want to move them to a higher location and put them in waterproof containers to avoid water damage. Or you may want to keep small items in a flood/fireproof home safe. You may also want to secure items that are displayed on shelves or walls if your home may be subject to high winds or other risk factors.

Prepare now so that when an emergency arises, your important documents will be safe and accessible. 

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