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HOW TO: Make an Emergency Binder

An Emergency Binder is essential to keep yourself and your family safe during a disaster. There have been many instances where help was delayed or not given, due to a lack of records and paperwork. During Hurricane Katrina, one survivor had her dog with her and could not get a hotel room since they did not have the vet records and couldn't call the vet. 

The good news: making an Emergency Binder is super simple and can help you be prepared in the event of a disaster. 

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Why is an Emergency Binder Useful?

An emergency binder should be part of your disaster preparedness plan, as it's the best way to keep all of your important documents together and easy to transport. Emergency binders are especially helpful in cases where you may not be able to return to your home right away.

Documents to Include:

1 / Key Documents

  • Copy the cards in your wallet, or at least write down the information. 

  • Driver's license

  • Credit cards, including the phone numbers to call in case of loss or theft

  • Social Security card

  • Health insurance cards

  • Birth certificates

  • Passports

  • Immunization records

  • Other ID cards from work, school, organizations or associations

2 / Other Important Documents 
  • Marriage certificates

  • School transcripts and diplomas

  • Prescriptions for medications and glasses

  • Power of Attorney

  • Medical Power of Attorney

  • Living Will, etc.

  • Trust papers

  • Wills

  • Deed to burial plots

  • Vehicle titles (including tractor, trailer, etc.)

  • Property deeds

  • Insurance policies (homeowners, life, car, etc.)

  • Contracts

  • Bank account numbers

  • Stocks and bonds

  • Income tax records for prior years

  • Family members’ phone numbers

  • Phone numbers for doctor, vet, employers,

  • neighbors

3 / Pets and Livestock
  • Don’t forget your pets and livestock; they have important papers too!

  • Immunization records for pets and livestock

  • Proof of spay/neuter for dogs and/or cats

  • Livestock registration papers and health certificates

  • Photo of pets and livestock for identification purposes (even better: photos of YOU with your pet or animal to prove ownership)

How to Assemble the Binder and Where to Store

Assemble your binder by making copies/including original documents and have them in a binder that zips closed. We found that when dealing with lots of paper documents, some can fall out so having a binder that zips closed works best. From there the order you assemble and format your documents in is up to you. You can have it separated by importance of documents, tabs with different family members, etc. You can color more important things with red tabs, really it's up to you. Once finished, you'll want to store your binder in a safe place that you will remember. 

We are happy to instruct your group on how to create an emergency binder and why it is important. We have several presentations available for free to the community to share these resources. If you are not in Arizona, someone from our nonprofit can go over the binder with your group on Zoom.

Please reach out to us below if you would like to have us present to your group. 

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