What is an Emergency Binder? As we talk about under Getting Started, each family should have a disaster kit put together which includes things like first aid items, 72 hour food kits, extra outfits, etc. An emergency binder is an integral part of this kit. Basically you ask yourself this question: Would I be frustrated or mad if I lost this item in an earthquake, flood, or other emergency situation?
What should I include in my Emergency Binder?
- birth certificates
- social security cards
- copies of your credit cards front and back
- homeowners insurance policy
- auto insurance policy
- life insurance policy
- bank statements
- retirement statements
- internet passwords (banking, personal, work etc)
- immunization records
- utility statements
- work/tax documents that would be difficult to replace
- CASH – keep a variety of small bills on hand
We like to put each item in a sheet protector and add divider labels to put them into sections. This makes it easy to pull things in and out when you need to access them.
Do I store copies or originals? This is a personal choice but we recommend storing the originals IN your emergency binder and store photocopies of them in a filing cabinet, and also scan a digital copy and give it to a trusted friend or put it in a safe deposit box. If your house burnt down or was flooded it would be so relieving to know that you don’t have to go through the hassle of replacing those documents. If you already have a water/fireproof filing cabinet or safe you may choose to just put copies in your binder so that you can have the information on hand in an emergency but know that you can return home and find the originals intact at a later time.
What should I store my binder in? Even though the idea is to grab the disaster kit and bring it with you, there is always the chance that you won’t be home during an emergency. In this scenario you would still want to return home and find your binder in good condition (especially if your original documents are IN the binder). We recommend storing your binder in a fireproof/ waterproof locked box that is small enough to be transported with you in an emergency.
P.S WE ARE GETTING A LOT OF GOOD IDEAS IN THE COMMENTS HERE, MAKE SURE YOU READ THEM.
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder