As Wildfires Spread, L.A. Controller Urges Californians to Build a Financial First Aid Kit to Keep Money/Docs Safe

LOS ANGELES — As wildfires rage up and down the state causing hundreds of thousands of Californians to evacuate or prepare to leave their homes, L.A. Controller Ron Galperin, financial officer for the state’s largest city, released a new online resource to help residents prepare for today’s emergencies and any others that may come. “How to Build a Financial First Aid Kit” is an interactive tool that provides a list of documents and items people should gather, store safely, and be able to access if a crisis comes their way. September is National Preparedness Month.

“If disaster strikes and you are forced to leave your home, you need access to food, water and medicine, but also to all of your critical financial and personal documents,” said Controller Galperin. “Emergencies, like wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, can lead to unexpected expenses that require moving money around, pulling from savings, or relying on assistance to make ends meet. To be ready, I urge every Californian to create a Financial First Aid Kit today.”

A Financial First Aid Kit is similar to an emergency medical first aid kit, but instead of bandages, water, medicine and tools, a Financial First Aid Kit should include any important financial, legal, medical and other personal documents and information people may need to have on hand in case of an emergency.

Galperin lists four categories of documents and items needed in a Financial First Aid Kit:

  • Identification Documents, including driver’s and marriage licenses, birth certificate, passport, immigration documents, pet IDs.
  • Legal and Financial Documents, including bank account info and statements, estate planning documents, utility bills, vehicle registration, pay stubs.
  • Medical Information, including doctor contacts and insurance cards, disability and prescription documents, and pet records.
  • Passwords, Contacts and Cash, including emergency contact information, usernames and security information, and petty cash for day-to-day spending.

Also included are helpful tips on how to store these documents both physically and digitally and what tools and apps to use.

View “How to Build a Financial First Aid Kit” at lacontroller.org/financialfirstaidkit or https://lacontroller.org/data-stories-and-maps/financialfirstaidkit/.

Follow L.A. Controller Ron Galperin at @LAController on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

###