How to Create an Emergency Binder

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We often have readers ask us about preparing for a Natural Disaster and what the most critical steps would be. We have talked a lot about this over the years on our blog. Earlier this week we shared 50 Last Minute Ways to Prepare for an Emergency. Last week we posted a Disaster Kit refresher for you to share with your family and friends that will be helpful whether you shelter-in-place or have to evacuate. Today we wanted to do a little refresher on Emergency Binders which are a critical component of Disaster Kits.


What is an Emergency Binder?
In our Emergency Prep, section we talk about how each family should have a plan, food, supplies, and have their Emergency Binder put together. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a death in the family, every household needs a plan in order to survive, cope, and recover. By creating an Emergency Binder, you and your loved ones will be better equipped to endure unexpected adversity and enjoy peace of mind. It’s a great feeling to be prepared!

You can make your own Emergency Binder, or purchase a pre-made binder to keep all your important documents in place.

You can purchase your own binder, dividers and sheet protectors and compile your own Emergency Binder. This makes it easier to pull things in and out when you need to access them. You’ll want to include your binder in your list of important things to GRAB should you need to evacuate.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR EMERGENCY BINDER?

VITAL DOCUMENTS

  • birth certificates
  • passports
  • immunization records
  • CASH – keep a variety of small bills on hand
  • copy of your will, living trust, power of attorney etc
  • medical information including prescriptions
  • military and church papers
  • diplomas and transcripts
  • marriage certificates
  • adoption papers
  • current pictures for family members
  • pet records
  • proof of citizenship

INSURANCE DOCUMENTS

  • homeowners insurance policy
  • auto insurance policy
  • life insurance policy
  • medical insurance policy
  • pictures and lists of all your personal belongings for insurance

FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS

  • copies of your credit cards front and back
  • bank statements
  • retirement/social security statements
  • internet passwords (banking, personal, work etc)
  • utility statements
  • work/tax documents that would be difficult to replace
  • deeds to properties
  • titles to cars, boats etc
  • warranty information

The Prepare My Life Planner is an organized emergency preparedness plan. Not only does is it designed to store and organize all your important documents it ALSO contains a step-by-step plan to help prepare your home and family for an emergency. All of the pages, pockets, pouches, and folders are included.

“PREPARE MY LIFE” PLANNER FEATURES:

  • Complete with Emergency Preparedness sections: Prepare My Family, Prepare My Home, Gather Supplies, Prepare to Evacuate, Prepare to Stay
  • Also includes comprehensive sections on: Personal, Insurance, Financial, Assets, Final Planning
  • Forms for you to fill out ALL your information that you can access and complete online as well, save to your hard drive, and print copies for loved ones
  • Each section walks you through checklists of things you need to do, and things you need to place in your planner in the appropriate sheet protector. Each sheet protector is unique to the type of document you are storing
  • Comes with emergency cards you can pass around, a calculator and pen
  • FOR FULL REVIEW: Click here for more pictures and details


COMMON QUESTIONS

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.


  • melanie

    I am worried about identity theft. The documents that you say should be in the binder are everything a creep would need to steal and ruin your life! Taking it with me every where would not be practical and could increase the chance of it being stolen. If we are out of town and there were a tornado or break in, it would be the same problem. I don’t think I am to paranoid as id theft is on the rise. Recently there were several instances where thieves had put a device in a mailbox so as to catch and steal peoples mail. If there were to be a huge emergency or an EMP attack, would we really need these documents to survive? I’m not trying to be contrary , just concerned and trying to figure out what to do as I have just recently been clued in to the need to be so prepared. Thanks for your help.

    • It’s definitely a concern. That’s why we recommend to keep it in a small portable safe. You could also make digital copies of it all and keep the actual documents in a safety deposit box. Everyone seems to have a different preference for how they feel most comfortable. Thanks for your comment!

  • Charisse Tryon Merrill

    These binders are important to have in case of an emergency, but I find they are useful for my day-to-day needs. Sometimes it’s hard to remember all the information I need to remember running a house and kids, and using an emergency binder gives me one place to look for all of that information.

    • YES that is a huge benefit for me too. Makes school registrations much easier πŸ™‚

  • Chandra Lynne

    I had many friends whose homes were swept away in the Moore tornado in OK back in 2013. Including their safes! Might I suggest that you add a note here to order originals of vital/important documents, and mail them to a close trusted family member who lives in a different state? That way if everything that proves you are you is gone, you just need to have someone mail it to you – or to a neighbor who still has a mailbox! (I had a friend who thought her purse was in the car when she quickly threw her kids in it and escaped the tornado. Unfortunately, no purse, no ID, not vital documents! She had a heck of a time getting those items gathered again!)

  • Carolyn Corthell

    The link for the free monthly preparedness is not working.

  • Becky

    Do you still offer the Prepare My Life Binder at the discounted price of $119? I tried to buy it by clicking on it on this website as well as Prepare My Life and both come up as “page not found”. How do I get it?

  • Tiffany

    I was on your website several years ago and I printed off a Child ID kit for each child where I enter their info, glue a picture, and then add their fingerprints. Do you still have that form available? And do you still recommend keeping fingerprints of family members in case someone gets separated?

    • I don’t think that handout was on our site. Sorry!

    • Beth

      Check with your local police department; they normally have those.

  • Sarah Read

    Best place to store your information is in a safety deposit box at your bank.

    • Judy

      Not true. All of my mother’s documents were stored in a bank safe deposit box and the bank burned down…everything in the safe/vault was destroyed not only by fire, but from the water used to put out the fire. The best place to keep your valuable documents is WITH YOU.

    • Emily V.

      That is assuming that the bank is open in an emergency to let you get your things out…if it’s a region-wide disaster, then I’m 99% the bank and its employees will have more important things to do than to make sure you can get in and get your documents.

  • TheGhostofBelleStarr

    You night want to look at the bad reviews on Amazon for the “fire proof/water proof” lock box you are recommending, apparently it is bad.

  • Lea_99

    For the pet records – be sure you have a current picture of each pet WITH a family member. This helps prove ownership in the absence of brands/tattoos/microchips.

  • LaLani Kartchner Haymes

    I think I missed the sale but I would still like the binder please. Instructions please.

  • LaLani Kartchner Haymes

    What is the Black Friday Sale date? I need a binder also please. I am just starting out and will follow you for help and guidance. Thank you!

  • Sn-Dlouwho

    What is the Black Friday Sale price for the Prepare My Life Binder? And is there a price break, if ordering more then two? I’ve recently became the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator in my branch. I’d like to inform the sisters and/or take orders. Thank You!

    • Shoot us an email and we can give you details. We can definitely do group orders πŸ™‚

  • anth

    The only thing I have not seen mentioned on this binder is that there is nothing for a home inventory/ car information. If you have to evacuate – say in a fire, or if there is a break in – how can you do an insurance claim without your home inventory of what was lost/ damaged and how much it cost/ photo.

    • Jack

      under insurance documents it says to have pictures and a list of all your belongings.

  • Susan B.

    Talk about quick service! I bought mine on Black Friday and received it 3 days later on Monday. Thank you for offering it. I Love It!!

  • Jonny

    This really is a must for every household. It saves everyone the worry when, in the worst case scenario, evacuate their homes, taking their valuables with them.

  • Ashley

    I have a lock box that is not waterproof, a Sherriff for my county at a preparing booth suggested to photocopy the originals, and to laminate the copies. So that they are available just in case! πŸ™‚

  • Emily

    I really want to purchase a binder. Will you be reminding us that it is on sale on Black Friday? I just subscribed to your newsletter.

    • Yes! We will send out a flyer on Monday or Tuesday with full details of all the sale items, and send a quick reminder when the sale prices go live Friday at midnight.

  • Tammy

    just wondered if the black friday sale on the prepare my life planner will be all day or just a few hours in the morning? I’m hoping I can afford one but will be traveling until afternoon without internet access so hoping it is an all day thing!

    • The sale will run Friday-Monday so no worries! It’s seriously an amazing product, you’ll love it!

      • Tammy

        thanks!

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