Create an Emergency Backup Planner What you need to know When the unexpected happens, will you be able to get the help you need to keep the various components of your life in order until the crisis is over Will friends and family members have the information, instructions and authorizations necessary to provide the assistance needed? Today's privacy laws prohibit anyone, even your spouse, from getting access to personal information that may be needed to help in an emergency unless they have your written permission.In a medical emergency, information regarding current prescriptions, any known health conditions, the names of your doctors, known allergies, etc. must be immediately available to medical personnel.Medical personnel won't search your technical devices for medical information nor will medical facilities allow the use of a flash drive or similar device with their computers due to concerns over possible viruses infecting their system.Once your children become 18, you no longer have access to any of their medical, financial, college, insurance or other information without their written permission even if you still provide their insurance and pay some or all of their bills.People who live alone are particularly vulnerable when the unexpected happens unless they have put into writing the information, instructions, and authorizations that allow others to help manage their medical care, finances, household matters, pets, children and all other important components of their life until the emergency passes.It's easy to create an Emergency Backup Plan for you and your family. Take the following steps to enable you and your family to be better prepared to assist one another when the unexpected happens:STEP ONE: Review the tools and select those that are most appropriate for your life and circumstances. BE SURE TO COMPLETE AN Emergency Medical Information FORM EACH ADULT AND CHILD IN YOUR FAMILY.STEP TWO: Complete the forms you have chosen. If you complete the forms on your computer, save them on your computer, print out a copy so it can be immediately accessible if needed, and give or email a copy of those forms you want to share with others. If you completed the forms by hand, you may want to scan them so you can save a copy to your computer, iPad, phone or other electronic devices. You may also want to scan any signed, completed forms into one or more of your electronic devices so you'll have a backup copy to the original if needed as well as to make it easier to share with others, including any third parties who require signed authorizations to share information, etc.STEP THREE: Give a copy of the completed forms to those you have chosen to undertake specific responsibilities on your behalf in case of an accident or emergency so they are prepared to immediately follow your directives. For example, give a copy of Pet Care Information and Instructions, Permission for Others to Seek Medical Treatment for your Pets and all other relevant forms to whomever you want to care for your pet(s) in an emergency. When it comes to sensitive financial and similar information, you may prefer to keep that information private unless something happens that requires others to have access to this information. Place this private information in a safe place with your other important papers and tell one or more trusted individuals where this information can be found with instructions to access it only in an emergency or whatever other stipulations you set. If you place the originals of these sensitive forms in a safety deposit box, be sure and keep copies somewhere that can be immediately accessible in an emergency and tell one or more trusted individuals where they can be found.STEP FOUR: Complete an Emergency Contact Card and carry it with you in your wallet or billfold so emergency personnel know whom to contact in an emergency. Make certain at least one person named on the card knows where they can find your Emergency Back Up Planner and completed forms so the information, instructions, and authorizations needed to care for you and your life is immediately available until the crisis has passed.Click Here To Download & Create a Free Emergency Notification Card for Your Wallet (Courtesy of Virginia Tech)IMPORTANT INFORMATIONWhen selecting individuals to undertake various responsibilities, don't over-burden any one person and make your selections based upon the capabilities of those being selected. For example, the person most appropriate to care for your children, pets, and household responsibilities may not be the best person to oversee your finances, or medical matters. Remember, it's not a popularity contest, make choices based upon the capabilities of the individuals, and their concurrence with the decisions you expect them to make on your behalf.Complete and print out emergency medical information for each family member so it's immediately available in a medical emergency. Most hospitals and medical facilities won't allow you to provide your medical history/information contained in a flash drive, CD, or other USB devices because of their concern viruses could contaminate their network.You may want to give copies of some of your completed forms to those you have chosen to assist you and your family in an emergency. Pick and choose which matters you want to keep private, except in a crisis, and share information and instructions for more practical matters so everyone will know what's expected of them when the unplanned takes place.