Edited and updated – 2019

The time is now…

It’s 3:00am and someone is banging on your door.

“Get Out” yells that door pounder. “Get Out Now”.  

You can’t think.  You are afraid.  You can hear the fire…the roaring of the tornado…the sound of the rushing and rising water. The danger is here and right now!

Right by your door is your Red Book and your 72 hour “bug out bag”.  You never wanted this moment to come, but you are more ready in ways that will save big heartache when the crisis is over.  

In the moments of crisis and hurry up, you do not have time to gather the files and paperwork that you will need.  You do not have time to gather clothes, water, food, flashlights and the dog’s food.  And you might not even know where the right files are:  all the business files; the 401K paperwork; insurance/ utility statements; birth certificates; wedding pictures?  What about food, water, clothes and shelter? You can’t think and you are afraid.  And moving fast….

The history of the Red Book is a simple one.  My daughter deployed to Iraq and needed me to take care of all of her affairs – banking, savings, financials, rentals, person paperwork and mail.  She was brilliant and copied the front sheet of every important document, slid it into a plastic page sleeve and put all the documents in a 2.5 inch very red binder.  It was impossible to not notice the binder and it had every account number, phone number and address (often the contact name) of everything that was contained in her Red Book which made it easy for me to contact the service if needed.  I was her Power of Attorney so it made my job easier.

Why share this with you?

Everyone in my family has a Red Book now.  We have copied all credit cards, IDs, family pictures on CDs, accounts, birth certificates, family records etc in our Red Books.  If the wind blows here and the rivers and creeks rise, I can easily grab my Red Book and have every document I need. 

In this digital world, you might turn up your nose to this idea of a paper/CD solution.  It does take a bit of work to get the Red Book filled and viable.  However, if you read the news about the destruction in California this past week, there is no cell coverage, no electricity, no grocery stores, no land lines, no communication. 

Their current reliance on mobile coverage has failed.  In fact, while you are reading this, there is still no coverage. They are predicting that electricity will be restored intermittently and not fully usable on all days even when restored.

And a perfect companion for your Red Book is a Bug Out Bag referred to as a BOB. 

Most disaster responders recommend that you be prepared to take care of you and your family for the first 72 hours after a disaster.  So the BOB is also called a 72 hour BOB.

In thinking through what you need on a daily basis and who will be with you during this 72 hours, your BOB can contain these items and more:

  • Water – lots of water!!
  • A wind-up radio to listen to the news of the area
  • 2-3 pairs of socks, change of clothes
  • Food, coffee bags, tea bags, dog food
  • Matches, lighter, flashlight
  • Some first aid – I make sure there are wipes too
  • Depending on the time of year, it could contain gloves and knit hats
  • So much more – your medicine, blankets, etc
  • Kids do well with a backpack so get them their own. 
  • Here is the link to the best “bug out bag” I have seen: https://www.asecurelife.com/72-hour-kit/

I have two BOBs.  Both are in backpacks and one is in my car (with a case of water) and the other is in the closet nearest my back door. Now that I have grandchildren, I have included baby and toddler items to my 72 BOBs.  I also have a very old dog and have an extra blanket for her in my car. 

Please take care of you.  Consider putting together a Red Book and a 72 BOB  for you to be safe and knowing you do not have to lose all your documents and precious pictures. 

Your Red Book can be filled easily.  Every time you get a notice – electronic or paper – make a copy of the first page and put it in a plastic sheet and into your Red Book it goes.  I review my Red Book for accuracy at the end of each year. (You can also review during tax time since you have to go through so many documents anyway.) 

During the year you might have had changes in: 

  • Credit cards
  • License
  • Addresses
  • New big purchases and warranties
  • Taking pictures of the contents of your home
  • Family documents that need storing

All you will need to do is replace the already captured information with a new copy.  Once your Red Book is in existence, you will feel so good about knowing you have the information you need in one spot.  I have often used my Red Book to look up information because it is easy to find and access…instead of big hunky files somewhere. 

My current project is taking pictures of all the family albums so I have the pictures on a CD.  Yes, I have a CD player.  Why, because I have grandkids and lots of the kids’ music still comes on CDs.  CDs are water resistant and easy to store in your Red Book. 

The Red Book and the 72 hour BOB will save you heartache, time and maybe even your life.   

Be smart and be safe. 

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