Replacing vital documents after a storm

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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When a tragedy such as severe storms, fire, or tornadoes hit a family’s home, the loss is devastating in so many ways. The lack of shelter and security can bring some people to the edge of breaking when residents lose all of their vital paperwork, that loss impacts almost every aspect of their lives.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is one of the front line agencies that assists families when disaster strikes.

Whatever disaster hits a family, certain documents are needed to continue day to day activities.. FEMA provides resources to help families impacted by natural disasters.

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If these documents are lost, citizens can go to their county courthouse to get a replacement. If the building is temporarily closed, call (334) 242-4400 for help. Information can also be obtained from

Birth certificates, marriage or divorce records, even a death certificate, can play a major role in the services a family desperately needs in the event of an emergency. Visit the county Health Department in the event of an emergency. If this is not possible, call (334) 206-5418 or visit for assistance.

Medicare cards are also vital in a disaster. Medical attention may be necessary and also help to identify a citizen. If medicare cards are lost or destroyed, call 800-633-4227, or (TTY) 877-486-2048. Information can also be found at

A person’s medical records can be the difference between life and death in some cases. If these documents are lost, residents can call their doctor’s office or insurance company to gain access to information. Remember, local groups may also be out of service temporarily due to storm damage.

Local pharmacies can provide a list of current prescriptions, but the power might also be down to these businesses.

People who need replacement documentation, call (314) 801-0800 or visit

Social Security cards are one of the most important pieces of identifying documentation that a person has. To get replacement cards, call 800-772-1213 or (TTY) 800-325-0778, or visit

Another vital document for Alabamians is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP card. If this card is lost call (833) 822-2202 or visit www.Welcome(

Other vital documents which can be replaced are:


Butler county Director of the Emergency Management Agency, Rosie Till, has good advice to help citizens before disaster strikes. 

“Just having notifications on your phone, first and foremost, and having a weather radio, are the most important things people can do,” Till said. “Butler county is currently working on an incentive with some local churches to develop a safe place initiative, that way individuals would have somewhere to go in the event that they don’t feel safe in their home.”

Till’s next piece of advice is to be aware of what’s going on. 

“Most people don’t pay any attention to the warnings, so by the time it’s here, it’s too late,” she said.