Five Things You Should Be Doing but Probably Aren't

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

People hate to think about negative things happening, but it's a fact of life that they happen. The more people prepare for unfortunate events the less stressful these times will be. Here are five simple things that you probably aren't doing but need to be.


1. Photocopy credit cards.

If your credit card were lost or stolen, could you quickly find the number to call to report it? Most cards have these numbers printed on the back of them, but that doesn't do much good when they're missing. Instead, photocopy the front and back of each credit card and store the copy in a folder labeled "wallet." Simply lay all the cards face down on a scanner and then made a copy. Then, flip them over and copy the backsides. Now, if something happens to the cards, you can easily locate all the information you need such as the number to call to report the lost card as well as the account number on the card.

2. Make a list of everything in your wallet/purse.

Having to report lost cards is a nuisance, but remembering everything that was lost is difficult. List all the items such as library cards, ID cards, medications, and other information that you carry regularly. This will make replacement easier, and seldom used items won't be forgotten. File this list in the folder marked "wallet" along with the credit card copies.


3. Leave document copies behind when you travel.

Even if you're taking a short trip, leave personal information with a family member or at least let someone know where to find it. In case an emergency would arise or your wallet would be lost while traveling, someone can contact you with the information that you'll need to report the loss. Make a copy of your driver's license and passport to include in this folder as well. Travel agents warn not to carry passports with you while sightseeing or shopping; instead, make a color copy and carry that instead.

4. Program personal information into your cell phone.

It's a good idea to keep an emergency contact card in your wallet, but add the information to your cell phone as well. When assisting unconscious accident victims emergency personnel look in cellular phones for information about the person such as home number, emergency contact information, and even the person's name. Program such information into the phone's address book under the title "self" or "emergency contact."


5. Shred documents.

If you're not already shredding documents, you need to start. According to the Federal Trade Commission identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes with 9.9 million reported victims last year. With information that is readily available on items such as utility bills and bank statements, a "dumpster diver" can easily assume your identity and begin fraudulent actions. Shred anything with your name, address, or any other important information.,/p>

By dedicating an hour or so to completing these five simple tasks, a disastrous day might transform into a simply bad day.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at or visit her website at

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By IMAQT1962 (Guest Post)
April 5, 20060 found this helpful


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By (Guest Post)
April 5, 20060 found this helpful

I have read that you should put emergency info in your cell phone under ICE, (in case of emergency). That is where emergency personnel look for it, like in a fire in your home they say put important papers in the freezer.


Same concept, I guess!

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By Debbie (Guest Post)
April 6, 20060 found this helpful

Regarding number 4. I had heard or read to program the word/name ICE into your cell phone with your emergency contact information for police etc.
ICE for In Case of Emergency.

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By Kelly Butterbaugh (Guest Post)
April 10, 20060 found this helpful

Thanks for the info about labeling your personal information as ICE. If we all follow the same proceedures, that will make the emergency officers' jobs easier. I'll be changing my phone! Thanks for the advice and thanks to our EMTs and other rescue personnel for a job well done.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 156 Feedbacks
August 22, 20120 found this helpful

Great ideas... and excellent feedback. I'll be implementing these right away, and will be passing on this info. Thanks. Cay from FL

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 104 Posts
August 23, 20120 found this helpful

I've been doing all 5 for years.

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October 7, 20130 found this helpful

Just a note, ICE (in case of emergency), was implemented after Hurricane Katrina. So many more could have been helped, if this info had been listed in everyone's cell phone!

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October 7, 20130 found this helpful

Taking care of your relationships, work contacts,your career and your body. Taking care of environment is also necessary, then fewer items you replace, the fewer things that wind up in landfills.


The less energy you use, the fewer fossil fuels you burn. It is also essential to take the time to maintain the things you have.Thus saving on time,energy and money.

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