A “Survivor’s Notebook” is a great way to document the important elements of your life before a disaster strikes. The document below is a starter outline for yours. “Disasters” come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of severity…a death in the family, everything from misplaced or lost credit cards, emergency room visits without prescription medicine lists for yourself or loved ones, unknown or undocumented phone numbers for your family, doctors, insurance company, etc.
The idea of a Survivor’s Notebook is to make it easier to manage things when all your familiar references (and file cabinets) are gone. This is also useful in the event of fire or theft…other “disasters”.
It should be noted that there is nothing “magic” about the format of your Survivors Notebook. It can be in an electronic document such as Word, Excel, etc., in hard copy format (paper), or both. The important thing is to prepare one ahead of time.
One easy way to get started, is to look at your daily mail. As things come in like bills, statements, etc., use that as an opportunity to document that information. If you have a scanner, it’s easy to scan it instead of doing lots of writing. Evernote (Evernote.com) is a great way to help in managing this task. It can be used on your computer, iPhone, iPad, Android device, via their website. Fully functional free accounts are available. However you chose to do it, it’s a task worth it’s weight in gold.
Though the concept of “storing” one or more copies of your Survivor’s Notebook may vary a bit depending upon whether it is electronic or paper, the concept is simple…take care of it and make sure it is securely store but available.
Electronic versions may be placed in secure on-line storage for access & retrieval from anywhere or maintained in your mobile device. A hard copy can be placed in a bank security box as well. Some “survivalist” folks even suggest placing such information on a Kindle, iPad, or other tablet type device. The thought being instant access, easy to charge the battery, and thousands of documents, photos, and videos can be stored in one place. A comprehensive Survivor’s Notebook can quickly grow to be a thick “document” by conventional standards so perhaps an electronic approach has much merit. Whatever the approach, having one is the important part.
Yes, it takes effort and on-going discipline to create and maintain a Survivor’s Notebook but the benefits are worth it. Put a note on your calendar to review it on a scheduled basis (once or twice a year or as major events happen) to keep it up-to-date.
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Article by Gary Ownsby; based on a concept by Karen Witt, KW4SPN.