Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meeting 2c: Assemble an Emergency Binder

How to make an Emergency Binder

"In case of an emergency, say a house fire, wouldn't it be nice if you could save all of your most valuable documents? I used to keep all of them in an old filing cabinet but you won't see me running out of our burning home carrying that!An emergency binder is a place to store birth and marriage certificates, passports, social security cards, home insurance information, car insurance information, emergency cash, missing fliers for your family members, etc. Its all in one convenient place that is easy to grab on your way out the door." Source

Supplies Needed: 
(and an explanation on each)

    - 1-1/2" to 2" 3-ring Binder with clear window/pocket on front and side  (If you go smaller than 1-1/2", you might not have room for everything. That's what I learned from making ours.) OR Zippered Trapper Keeper (or similar, so things don't fall out!)

     - Sheet Protectors (25+) - Slip your important documents into sheet protectors. It keeps them protected and a little water proofed (as long as it isn't raining right into the top of your binder :0 ). You'll have a few of these for each section in your binder. 

     - Tabbed Dividers (~5-10 - depending on how many sections you want) - They usually come in packs of 5 or 10 (sold at Walmart & Dollar Tree). Label the tabs once you are sure where everything is going to go. There will usually be a financial section, another for medical, vital records, etc. These dividers will make it easier for you separate out the sections in your binder so you can flip to the section you need easily. 

     - 1-2 ct. 3-ring Zipper Pouch (I use one to hold cash and passports and anything else I don't want slipping out of the binder. The other one I have a few pencils, pens, post-its, little pair of scissors, a few paperclips, a few rubber bands, maybe a small roll of tape, whatever else you might wish you had if you needed to take your binder and go for a while) These can go anywhere in the binder. I put my cash/Passports one toward the back of the binder so it isn't the first thing someone would see opening it up.
     - Cash (small bills in an envelope for emergencies) I would recommend at least $100 worth in 1's, 5's, 10's and maybe a few 20's. The amount is up to you. You should also spread out some other small bills in each of your family member's 72 hour kits. You can put them in different places in your bag so if you need to stop somewhere and buy something, you aren't pulling out a huge wad of bills, instead you are just grabbing out $8 here or $17 there. As you are heading out the door in an emergency, you can also stash some money on your person (a few bucks in your shoe or sock you are wearing, another small stash in a few different pockets, etc.). This way if your bags get stolen or you run out in your other places, you'll still have some on you and you won't be left with nothing. Also, if family members get split up, everyone will have at least a little money in case they need it to buy a necessity. 

    - Print out some cute binder section dividers that you can slip into sheet protectors. These go next to your tabbed dividers so you can find your sections easily. (Some of the links below are super cute and ready to print for this.)

        - Important Documents
             Child ID Kit, Adult ID Kit, and Pet ID Kit (FREE) (includes photo of the individual, their fingerprints (optional), and their basic information, allergies, doctors info., etc.). These are free to print off (make sure you print one for each family member & pet.
              * A family photo in your binder and one in each 72 hour kit/grab bag. A family picture will prove that someone is part of your family if they get lost, they'll help you describe what a family member looks like if you or they get lost, and it is nice to have it to look at if you get separated for some reason.
              * Various Important Documents from here or another list. If you use the comprehensive list I recommend, don't panic, you won't need everything listed, just whatever applies to you and your family. I slide in all of the birth certificates in one sheet protector together, same with marriage documents, etc. This way you are saving on having to use a million sheet protectors, and your binder will be a little lighter because of it. (You'll thank me later!) 
              * Scans of both sides of your licenses, insurance cards, shot records, credit/debit cards, and anything else you carry in your purse or wallet that if it got lost or stolen, you would know what numbers to call and what your account numbers and everything were so you could immediately put a hold on your accounts and get replacement cards. Includes these scans in your binder. You should be able to fit 6-8 cards scanned on one piece of paper. Then do another scan of the backs of all of those cards, just in case you need it. 
      - A Cover: Think about how you want your cover of your binder. Do you want something similar to the 1st one (Family Name/Picture or cute design/etc.), something more discreet, similar to the 2nd one, or something totally different. 


Here are some of my favorite sites for binder dividers and other resources you might put in   
an Emergency Binder. I believe all of these are free:

      - Preparedness Plan Brochure              
               SimplyFreshDesigns - Create A Family Emergency Plan
               * Emergency Binder by Stock Up With Shelley

               * PinchALittleSaveALot - Family Emergency Planning Kit
               * - Emergency Document Binder
               * - Emergency Contact Card
               * - How to Organize and Prepare for Almost Anything
               * There are a million resources out there if you don't find something you like above.   

**Be sure to keep your Emergency Binder in a safe place where only you and a few others know where it is (spouse, older kids (in case an emergency happens when you are gone--they'll know where to grab it from). If someone breaks into you house, you don't want them to find it and bring it with them. (It should be out of sight!) If that thought makes you not want to make one and you have your files in a filing cabinet or filing box, it is basically the same thing. A bad guy could look through there for important info. It is better to have it where you know it is and you can quick grab it and go in an emergency and not have to sift through file folders and wonder what you might be forgetting to grab. You can also scan all of your documents and put the images on a jump drive/flash drive or hard drive (along with important family photos) and put in a safe (at home in a hidden place) or in a safety deposit box at the bank. 
- Shalyse's 2 cents**       

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