How to Create an Emergency Binder

With Hurricane Sandy striking so much of the East Coast, we have recently had an influx of readers ask us about preparing for a Natural Disaster. 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 Getting Started, 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.



  • 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


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


  • 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.


  • 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


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.

  • 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?

    • Jodi and Julie

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

  • 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!

    • Jodi and Julie

      Shoot us an email and we can give you details. We can definitely do group orders :)

  • 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!!

    • Jodi and Julie

      We LOVE ours too!

  • 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! :)

  • 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.

    • Jodi and Julie

      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!

    • Jodi and Julie

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

      • Tammy