If you’ve ever put together an emergency kit, you know that you have a list of essential items that need to be included to help fulfill basic needs. However, you may not think of the items you may need to get back on your feet during/after the disaster. You need your health insurance information, your ID’s, banking info, and more! Having a family emergency binder can help you keep organized and have everything in one place should you need to grab and go.
When you first start preparing, you need a plan. This plan is either for sheltering at home or for “bugging out” and finding shelter elsewhere. For your evacuation plan, you’ll need to know a safe place to go (maybe grandma’s house?) and how to get there from various routes. Add this information to a binder, so it will be ready when you need it.
- Map of home for escape with multiple exits from each room
- What do you need to grab to survive?
- Where are you going?
- Local maps – paper, not digital
Part of an emergency plan is knowing what to do in various situations. Are your kids at school? Is someone hurt and you need help before you can leave the area?
Include contact info, including phone numbers and addresses for the following:
- Out-of-State Contacts – It may be easier to call long distance during a disaster.
- Kids schools and day cares
- Work and business numbers
- Family and Friends
- Non-Emergency – Fire, Police, Ambulance, City
In the rush to leave, you may forget to grab simple things such as jackets, or even shoes. Create a checklist of necessary items to grab and include it in your emergency binder. In the event you are asked to evacuate, you’ll have a checklist to mark off. This list may include the following:
- Emergency Kits
- Infant/baby food and items
- Food Storage Kit
- External hard drive
- 72 Hour Kits
Now that we know where we’re going, we need to include all of the items we would need to identify ourselves and be able to access essential accounts.
*Note* These items contain sensitive information, so be conscious and safe about where you store your binder. Many people have found that they keep their emergency binder in a fireproof safe that is located by their emergency kits. However, store yours where you feel comfortable.
- Financial Info:
- Copies of Insurance Cards
- Copies of Credit and Bank Cards
- Investment and Savings information
- Vital Documents:
- Copies of Marriage and Birth Certificates
- Copies of Adoption or Foster Records
- Copies of Military Records
- Copies of Social Security Cards
- Copies of Drivers Licenses or State ID’s
- Immunization Records
- Medical History
- Current Prescription List
- Insurance Information
- Any other important medical information
- Deeds and Titles
- Death Certificates
- Consider also adding:
- Keys to your cars, house, business, storage etc.
- Money – During an emergency, most places may only take cash
- Precious Photos – Print off a couple for the binder, but consider storing the rest on a USB Flash Drive
Now that you have set up your basic emergency binder, make sure to refer to it and update it every six months along with your emergency kits. What else would you add to your binder?