“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox
Family is the most precious part of our lives. After the work day ends, our evening activities wind down, and our friends head home, family is always there to support us, strengthen us, and stand with us, through our greatest – and toughest moments.
Unfortunately, when an unexpected, major life change occurs or a family emergency strikes, we’re completely blindsided and emotionally drained. Gathering important life documents and photographs during times like these can be a distressing, panicked mess. And for most people, it’s only when the family emergency or major life change occurs that the motivation to organize takes place. A proactive approach to digital organization is a great way to reduce stress so you can focus on what’s most important when difficulty or crisis strikes.
At OXO, we work regularly with clients who have experienced a family emergency or major life change and help them to get organized so they can focus on taking care of their loved ones. We know life happens – and an emergency or challenging life event could occur at any time. That’s why we are passionate about a proactive approach to digital organization.
In case of an emergency, follow our tips to get digitally organized for your loved ones:
- First, gather all of your vital life documents. These are: birth certificates, marriage licenses, trust and will documents, insurance information, bank account and investment information, and any other vital personal property that’s in print form. File your documents in what we call here at OXO, your “Grab-n-Go Kit”. This is simply a binder or similar case that you can find at your local Target, Wal-Mart, or office supply store. Keep it in a memorable, but secure location. We also recommend you tell your spouse or another trusted family member where it is, too, as an additional backup.
- Scan your vital life documents onto a flash drive or “thumb drive” and place the drive inside your binder or case. This provides you with a reliable digital backup of the documents inside your kit.
- Grab all of your favorite family photos (even kids’ artwork and projects) and scan them onto another thumb drive for safe keeping. Should you have digital photos, place them on their own drive, too. Back up your digital documents with a cloud-based service so you never lose them.
You can also take steps to ensure that you can reach your loved ones in an emergency. Follow these rules of thumb:
- Take the time to make sure your contacts are up to date in your phone, and check in periodically to make sure everything is current. Phone numbers change constantly these days!
- Program your emergency contact information into your smartphone. You have a few options: add your info onto your smartphone lock screen, so emergency responders or even a stranger can notify someone if you’re injured. You can also use tools like the iPhone Health App or emergency contacts apps like ICE: Emergency Contact for Android.
- Some smartphones have specific features within the phone itself that allow you to designate a loved one as an emergency contact – and states like Florida allow you to register emergency contacts on the Department of Motor Vehicles website. Inquire with your local government, and check out your smartphone’s user features to see if these safeguards are available to you.
- It’s important to make sure, while you’re completing the activities above, that your medical directives and wills are also up to date and in place. Circumstances change – so consider the details in these documents subject to a periodic check-in.
If you’re ready to take your organization a step further, we invite you to Download our exclusive “Be Ready Checklist” to better prepare yourself for emergency. Don’t forget to contact the OXO 123 team if you have any questions!