Putting Together an Emergency Binder

Emergency situations can completely cut you off from all of the resources that you rely on every day. When the power goes out, you will not be able to look up first aid instructions or recipes to cook on the internet. If your phone is dead, you will not have the important phone numbers you need to contact emergency numbers, family, or friends. Vital information about your family members, your material goods, your insurance policies, and more can be completely inaccessible.

The way to prepare for this is by having all of your information written down or printed out and in one place. Having all of your family members’ and pets’ identification – social security numbers, birth dates, cell phone numbers – and medical records – immunizations and prescriptions – in one place can make life easier on you in both emergency and non-emergency situations. In that same spot, you should have all of your legal and financial documents. This can include all of your bank account numbers and your credit card numbers. Some emergency-preparedness experts suggest taking an inventory of the belongings in your home, both by videoing and by writing down a record, for insurance and emergency purposes. The best idea is to keep these crucial documents in a fireproof safe, but you also want to think about quick accessibility for if you need to grab them in certain evacuation circumstances.

It is also a good idea to keep an emergency binder or booklet of some sort. Experts say first aid books for both your family and your pets are a necessity. In your emergency binder, you will want to have instructions for what to do in specific calamities, like hurricanes, power outages, evacuations, etc. Having a family plan – a set of tasks that each family member will perform during an emergency, as well as a contact person outside of the family and an evacuation location – will be extremely helpful. Review the plan and information in a family meeting before a disaster ever occurs. It may be wise to make similar evacuation and meeting place plans for other locations, such as the workplace, schools, churches, and other places you are frequently attending. Maps of your local area, and directions to meetings places, are a necessity. Other numbers, such as poison control, the fire department, all family members’ doctors, a veterinarian, and an emergency pet hospital can be put both in the emergency binder and on the family refrigerator. You may also want your binder to contain an inventory of all of your food storage, and recipes on how to cook the food you have. Writing down the location of your first aid kit, fire extinguisher, food storage, and other supplies is a smart idea.

Some of the information you have in your emergency binder should also be copied and condensed for each persons’ evacuation pack or 72 hour kit. Information can be copied on an index card, which can be either laminated or put into plastic sandwich baggies for protection from water. Your evacuation kit should also contain all imperative information about your meeting places.

Gathering all of your important information and documents into one place before an emergency occurs is the best way to keep your family organized, confident, and prepared during any type of catastrophe.

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