WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRPROUD) — Hurricane preparedness goes beyond making sure you have disaster supplies and an evacuation plan. Keeping your most important documents safe from damage will help minimize stress in the event of a natural disaster.

Important documents that should be protected include any “vital records,” according to FEMA. Those records include birth, marriage, and divorce certificates, adoption, and child custody papers. Other important documents are passports, diver’s licenses, Social Security cards, green cards, military service identifications, and other identification documents.

Don’t forget about pets! If they have pet ownership papers or identification tags, include those in your emergency prep plan.

FEMA says if your home or work is affected by a disaster, you should have documents handy for insurance providers and disaster assistance programs. Those documents include housing, vehicle, financial accounts, insurance policies, sources of income, tax statements estate planning and other financial obligations such as utility bills, credit cards, student loans, etc.

Medical information such as health insurance, prescriptions, wills, and disabilities documentation is also important to keep safe.

How to Protect Documents

Make paper copies.

FEMA suggests storing paper copies in a fireproof and waterproof box or safe, a bank safe deposit box, or with a trusted friend or relative.

Keep electronic copies.

Electronic copies of documents should be stored in a password-protected format on a flash drive or external hard drive and kept in a box or safe. FEMA says a cloud-based service can be used too.

Store documents in a safe place.

The box or safe you use to store documents should be placed in a higher location, away from areas that could be flooded.

For more information on disaster preparedness, visit getagameplan.org.