How to Make an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit
At TrueShred, we are all about security—which is why we are on a mission to shred everything that might compromise your, your company’s, or your clients’ confidentiality. But today we want to talk about documents you should keep to stay secure. We want you to know how to make an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit. Called EFFAK for short, this kit is designed to keep your most essential personal documents together in a safe, easy-to-access place for you to grab and take with you should an emergency or disaster occur.
What Is an EFFAK?
To help people stay secure in the wake of natural disasters and other sudden catastrophic events, the U.S. government, with the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has put together a plan called the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, or EFFAK, for people to use as a guideline for which documents to have easy access to should an emergency arise. Documents to keep in the EFFAK include:
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Social Security cards of household members
- Will and/or trust documents; powers of attorney
- Recent income tax return
- Passports and/or other identity documents
- Military discharge papers
- A list of your prescriptions and those of your family members
Why Make an EFFAK?
Like a stockpile of bottled water or an emergency evacuation plan, an EFFAK is something you put together in the hopes that you will never have to use it. But if a natural disaster, fire, or other emergency happens, you’ll be glad that you had the forethought to make the effort—and you’ll have all of your important documents at your fingertips.
Preparing an EFFAK can also help you get to some important household tasks that you may have been putting off, such as preparing a will or living will. The information included in the downloadable kit encourages you to:
- Have your most recent tax forms and returns organized and accessible, because you may need them to apply for loans or assistance after a disaster.
- Have your sources of income and financial obligations documented, should you need to apply for benefits if those sources are interrupted.
- Make sure your insurance policies are up to date and organize all of your insurance and home mortgage information.
- Create a Power of Attorney document to authorize another individual to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them yourself.
- Make hard copies of records from your online accounts—any bills you pay or banking you do online—to have that information available if you cannot access the internet.
These steps will benefit you even if you are not affected by a disaster or emergency.
Where to Keep Your EFFAK
FEMA recommends that you keep copies of your completed EFFAK and documents at home in a fireproof and waterproof box or safe, while storing the originals offsite in a safe deposit box. Remember, the EFFAK should be easy to access AND take with you, so find a place that is secure but also easy for you to remember and access. Make getting your EFFAK part of your family’s emergency evacuation plans.
Safe and Sound, Just in Case
We hope that we have made EFFAK part of your household vocabulary! While creating this kit will take some effort, it’s a small price to pay for your peace of mind, and possibly more.
For more information on making an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, please visit the FEMA website.
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