Execute a current power of attorney for each adult family member and have several originals made. Make several copies as well. These are needed to transact business on behalf of spouse or other adult.
Learn the current laws of your legal residence and place of domicile with regard to taxes and property.
Establish credit that will be adequate for emergencies. Obtain individual credit cards for employee and spouse.
Establish a joint checking account, or two joint checking accounts, enabling each spouse to work from either account in the event they are separated for a period of time.
Consider getting an ATM (automatic teller machine) card for your bank account that can be used all over the country. Make sure both spouses know the PIN (personal identification number).
Have the employee’s paycheck sent to a U.S. bank account rather than to post. Checks lost in the mail can cause extraordinary difficulties.
Put checkbooks, bankbooks, credit cards, some travelers checks, and a small amount of cash in a safe (but easily accessible) place.
Keep a list of regular billing dates for all recurring expenses -- insurance, mortgages, and taxes.
Make and continually update an inventory of all your possessions, including jewelry and clothing.
Decide what to take to post and what to put into storage based on where you are assigned.
Consider personal property insurance.
Pack both winter and summer clothing, regardless of post.
Update scrapbook and photo albums. Consider leaving sentimental photos or negatives in safe deposit box.
Gather all employment documents for adult family members, including resumes and letters of reference. Keep duplicates in the United States.
Be certain your emergency contact person is capable of dealing with an emergency.
Make duplicates of all personal address lists.
Discuss with your immediate and extended family what to do in case of an emergency (disaster, illness, or death). Give them your emergency telephone numbers.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE IN GUATEMALA
Register with the United States Embassy in Guatemala.
Keep up with what is happening in Guatemala, and in your town.
Be aware of the warden system at post. Know who your warden is and ensure that your family information is current and accurate.
Make an inventory of what you have brought with you and keep it updated.
Learn some Spanish to help you in an emergency. Keep a list of instructions, in Spanish, as well as essential telephone numbers for household employees.
Make the acquaintance of your neighbors early in your tour.
Learn the location of the closest hospital, police station, and friendly embassy.
Keep immunizations up to date and recorded in your yellow shot card.
If you have children in local schools, check the school’s emergency evacuation plan. Become an involved parent.
Try and find someone that you feel you can trust and supply that person with a current power of attorney for medical or other emergencies in the event you need them to care for you or your children unexpectedly.
Maintain a separate emergency supply/first-aid kit to be used only for emergency situations.
Decide which necessary items should be taken with you in the event of evacuation or authorized departure and which items should be airfreighted later.
EMERGENCY SITUATIONS: SHOULD THERE BE THE POSSIBILITY THAT YOU MAY NEED TO EVACUATE
Discuss possible contingency plans with family members.
Make a list of items to pack in each suitcase (normally each evacuee is allowed one suitcase).
Make a list of items for carry-on baggage.
Update current household effects inventory of items you are leaving behind.
Consolidate all personal records, financial documents, school records, etc.
Prepare your house for departure -- secure valuables, if possible.
Plan for pets. In almost all evacuations, your pets will not be allowed to go out on evacuation with you. Make advance arrangements for their care, food, etc. Keep the pets’ records updated.
Decide how money will be handled. Who will pay bills? Will you continue to use the joint checking account?
No matter how calm things are, you should not be lulled into thinking that “it can’t happen here.” Early personal preparation can alleviate some of the difficulties of an evacuation.
This web-site is not a function of the United States government or of the United States Embassy in Guatemala. Most of the information on this web-site was selected from Guatemala.USembassy.gov, www.State.gov and www.FEMA.gov. Additional valuable information for international travelers can be found on all three of these web-sites.