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.

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.

Emergency Preparedness Planner

Remember when Jodi and I went to the Self Reliance expo a few weeks ago. We told you a little about it here. Well I wasn’t expecting to fall in love at a Self Reliance Expo… but as you will see in this video… I DID!

In our Emergency Binder post we did awhile back, we talked about how important it is to have your documents safe and ready to grab and go in case of an evacuation. I had been meaning to put my binder into a better binder and get special sheet protectors ever since our 7 Day Challenge this year. Well I somehow kept procrastinating the job and when I saw this Prepare My Life Planner I was so thrilled because Tami – the creator of the Planner thought of EVERYTHING I have ever thought of doing with my binder and MORE.

The binder I was using didn’t have a zipper OR a handles, so things would always fly out. With the important documents I had in there this always made me nervous. The Prepare My Life Planner has both a zipper and handle and is easy to carry around.
 
I had a nice set of tab dividers in my binder however, they didn’t extend PAST the documents. The documents were in sheet protectors which made them extend too far past these regular tabs and they were pretty much useless because of it. The tabs in the Prepare My Life Planner go well beyond all the sheet protectors and are logically labeled with the proper sections.
 
My passports seemed to make an escape every time I even looked at the binder. With the zipper sheet protectors, I don’t have to worry about this.
 
The cash I kept with my binder had no where to go, but since the Prepare My Life Planner has a sheet protector for EVERYTHING you can possibly think of, it now has a home.
 
Some more features I LOVE about my Prepare My Life Planner are:

  • 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, and pen

The Prepare My Life Planners retail at $169.95, and but we can get them for you for $139.95, and FREE SHIPPING. These make great gifts. I’m already planning on getting my parents this for Christmas. And I just might tell them, they ought to get one of these for each of my brothers and sisters for Christmas too.

BUY HERE FOR YOUR FOOD STORAGE MADE EASY DISCOUNT

Emergency Preparedness Plan (and PDF’S!!!!)

For those of you who have been to the Fun with Food Storage Party all week, you may already have received the party favor – Our Emergency Preparedness Plan Workbook. We made it in excel because that way you can customize and alter the sheets to fit your families needs. For those of you who don’t have excel or “hate” excel, -while Julie (the excel nerd) will never understand HOW that is possible… we have turned all the sheets in the spreadsheet into PDF’S. Your welcome! Thanks to a great comment we received on our Emergency Binder post last week, we added a sheet to the workbook for you to record what you would grab in case of evacuations (pictures, albums, laptop) in order of importance. This is new today so if you have already downloaded the file, make sure you get the new version and print out that page.

Here’s a little tutorial on the sheet for ya!
(It’s missing the new sheet we added today)

Make sure you have everything printed and ready to go because your first BabyStep Checklist is coming next week! And you better believe we’re starting with Emergency Prep.

How to Create an Emergency Binder

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
  • passports
  • 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.