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.