In addition to the items you keep in your 72 hour kit, bug-out-bag, or any survival kit, do not discount the value of keeping a written list of information including important contacts, and even account numbers with simple encryption – as explained here…
(updated) Although your cell/smart-phone is a remarkably convenient place to store contact information and data, it will become quite useless when the battery is dead, especially if there is no means to recharge it (disaster).
Having written documentation of important/useful contact information could be crucial.
You don’t need to transcribe your entire contact list, just those which might be particularly useful following an emergency or disaster (with a dead cell phone).
The thing is, since the age of cell phones, we don’t need to remember everyone’s phone numbers anymore. We just click on their name in the contacts list…
Because of this, it’s a particularly good idea to keep a hard copy backup of this (or some of this) information. Don’t rely on technology for everything, all of the time.
Your cell phone or its battery might become inoperable or damaged (dropped, dead battery, water damage, other?) and you could lose ALL of the contacts and ALL information that was held within.
With hard-copy documentation, you could potentially use someone else’s phone and/or at least have the important information in your hands during the time when you might need it most, especially if you are away from home!
Here are suggestions for useful information to document in a hard-copy backup…
(Keep the written documentation in a Ziploc bag)
Home phone numbers and Cell numbers, as well as addresses (and email addresses, and whatever else) of those within your family/friend network with which you would coordinate.
Choose several hotels (ahead of time) where you would go if you needed to evacuate, assuming that you don’t have another temporary bug-out-location. Keep their phone numbers and addresses in your documentation list. Keep the corporate reservation number AND the local number of the hotel itself (both of them). If you believe you’ll need to bug out, then be the first to call and reserve… They could book up fast.
Rental Car Agencies
Keep the numbers and address locations of several rental car agencies (local agency numbers and their corporate reservation numbers). During or immediately after a regional disaster, rental cars may go quickly. Reserve quickly if you need to bug-out…
If you travel by airline, keep ALL of the major carrier’s reservation numbers with your documentation. If you need to change plans quickly, especially due to disaster, you will have a finite window of opportunity to get out (if you need to). If you are away traveling or on business, this could be crucial. Be the first out.
If you are traveling in and around a major city, keep the phone numbers of cab companies.
Medical contact information including phone numbers and accounts related to your doctors, hospital, pharmacist, and any other related medical data which could be important. If traveling out of your local area, it is a good idea to become aware of where the nearest hospital is located.
Insurance account numbers, your local agent AND corporate contact information for any insurance that you may have.
Credit Card Companies
ALL of your credit card company phone numbers (although this is always on the back of the card itself). But, if you lose it…
Your banking/financial institutions (assuming they haven’t collapsed yet…) Know your account numbers (or encrypt them), passwords (or encrypt them) and/or key questions/answers so they can determine your identity if necessary.
Simple Encryption For Passwords and Critical Information
There are easy-to-use encryption methods enabling you to write down your account numbers, passwords, etc., Here’s how…
Simple encryption of number
8 5 4 9 1 7 6 3 2
The order of those numbers is alphabetical, meaning the first letter (or two) of the word for each number corresponds to its place in the string above.
0 Z (Zero) 1 O (One) 2 Tw (Two) 3 Th (Three) 4 Fo (Four) 5 Fi (Five) 6 Si (Six) 7 Se (Seven) 8 E (Eight) 9 N (Nine)
The string of numbers exemplified above comes out to:
E Fi Fo N O Se Si Th Tw
If you wrote out an account number as EFiFoNOSeSiThTw and someone were to see it, chances are they’d have no idea what it meant. On the other hand, you’d be able to decode the message in a few seconds for any time you needed that account number.
Simple encryption of letters
If the information you want to protect was “4SURVIVAL”, you could simply switch the letters for numbers and the numbers for letters like this:
Like with the previous example, numbers were replaced with the first letter that they were spelled with (or two if necessary).
Letters were replaced with the numeric order in the alphabet (S=19, U=21, R=18, V=22, I=09, etc.) Note that the letters A through I are preceded with a “0″ (01, 02, 03, etc.).
A 01 B 02 C 03 D 04 E 05 F 06 G 07 H 08 I 09 J 10 K 11 L 12 M 13 N 14 O 15 P 16 Q 17 R 18 S 19 T 20 U 21 V 22 W 23 X 24 Y 25 Z 26
While this won’t fool the NSA, it will be gibberish to 99.99% of the public who may see it, even though its simple.