Keep A Hard-Copy Contacts List


I’m serious, to help ensure timely communications during disruption, everyone should have a hard copy of all their contacts from their electronic devices – PDA, iPhone, Blackberry, cell phone, computer email programs, etc…

Despite the incredible convenience of these modern-day communications devices, there are a number of circumstances that could render them useless, circumstances in which you may have the greatest need ever to have access to some of your important contacts.

I’m old enough to have been around before cell phones and computers, which most younger people today believe that they can’t live without (you know who you are ;). It may be true that many professions and nearly all systems depend upon computer systems and the like, but what about Plan B in the event these systems fail?

If there were to be a disaster that brings down communications systems in a region where you happen to be, or worse if the region became without electricity for a time, how will you access all of your contacts database?

Very much more common is a scenario (it’s happened to most all of us) where your cell phone breaks and you’ve suddenly lost all of that data which you have painstakingly entered since getting your latest phone.

Some system devices have applications that allow you to print out the contact lists, while many do not have that ability. Either way, it is worth your effort to have a master list of sorts, one that is hand-written, or one that is maintained in a text document on your PC that you also print a hard copy now and again.

For me, I believe the simplest and most effective way to maintain a master contacts list is to use ‘Notepad’ in Windows, which creates simple .txt files which can be read by most any editor and is not dependent upon having a particular software application installed. Any PC will be able to read it.

Rather than the pencil and paper method which may require a fair amount of erasing and changes over time (while the address book degrades), it’s nice to use your PC and text editor – BUT BE SURE TO PRINT HARD COPIES!

It’s a great idea to keep a printed hard copy in each of your vehicle survival kits or bug-out-bag.

Here are a few ideas of additional contacts that may help you during and emergency.
Phone number and address of your…

Doctor’s office
Doctor’s home (if you are lucky enough to know this)
Automobile insurance agency
Homeowner insurance agency
Pre-selected hotels for bug-out plan route (be first with reservation)
Banks and Investment Institutions with your money

…and of course your family and friends

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  1. Very good suggestion, yes. Myself, I have a specific 2 hour fire-safe with important documents and other things within. It is something that most don’t think about, but if you have a fire, you could lose everything. I also keep a portable USB drive in there with computer backup files (computers melt too, so don’t forget about that one…). It’s worth the money to spring for a decent firesafe.

  2. Having a habit of reading owners manuals, and like Ken possessing a fire-safe…(plus other systems) If your base should be ablaze and fire and rescue come you should tell them to put a hose specific to the location of your safe as this will prolong the manufacturers heat rating time frame. Survival-All…

  3. Wow, now that makes me feel old. People have to actually be told to keep a hard copy of important information. It should be common sense to do this, but not these days. How the hell did we ever get by in the past with just a phone and regular mail………… and I am not that old really. We didn’t pack cell phones around when we were kids, didn’t text non stop to all our friends and didn’t feel the need to be constantly ‘wired’.

    People should try and wean themselves off of this stuff a bit, as when TSHTF and it all craters, they will be running in tight little circles, whimpering and wondering how they can continue to function.

    It is best to prepare psychologically, as that is just as……… if not more………. important as food and shelter.

  4. Good idea and I put it on my list of things I should do in the future. The same day I read your article I did an update on my phone and it crashed. I lost all my information, phone numbers, email addresses and calendar. At this time I cannot even call some of my family because I did not keep written records. I did not realize how much I rely on technology. Lesson learned the hard way.

    1. I feel your pain – I’ve similarly lost all of my cell phone contacts in the past. Not fun. Another interesting byproduct is that unlike years ago when we knew (memorized) the phone numbers of many of our close contacts, today we just select their name and don’t need to remember their number. This makes it even more difficult when you lose your contact database…

      1. I had my phone crash, the pain and anxiety are crushing!! That is why now I back up ALL my contacts with my Gmail account. If my phone crashes or I get a new phone, presto my numbers are back!! All I do is log into my Gmail account on the phone and sync it. I do this for my Calendar and Contacts.

        Just REMEMBER to sync it periodically so it is up to date. I also use Cozi online Calendar as well. Truly love it.

  5. This is very good advice. I would add that it’s important to remember that many inkjet printouts do not do well with light water damage. The ink will run and mess things up. So you might toss important documents into a zip lock bag.

  6. good note for everyone to have. youd be surprised how many people went away or forgot how to have hard copies of many things. on the same note…. if theres anything you have on your pc or any online storage that you have saved from this site or any other prepper site… you should have them printed and if its extremely important for survival or anything of that nature…. should even be laminated to last longer and be water proof.

    just my 2 cents on this.

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