We’ve heard a lot about emergency preparedness in 2020! Being prepared for an emergency is more than having extra food, medicine, and toilet paper in stock (did I make you smile on that last one?). An Emergency Binder brings huge relief if you are seriously injured, ill, or need to grab copies of your important information quickly.
It’s important to organize your filing cabinet. However, having an Emergency Binder is different than just having an organized drawer of personal documents. This binder will include some duplicate information from your filing cabinet, but it will be in one central location available for quick reference in, you guessed it, an emergency!
You can make your own binder using the instructions below, or YOU CAN DOWNLOAD MY FREE FAMILY EMERGENCY BINDER TEMPLATE HERE!
Here is what you need to have in your Emergency Binder:
1. Name and Contact Information of Your Professionals
Husbands, do you know the name of your wife’s doctor? Do your parents know who to take your dear pup Fluffy to in case of emergency? If you find yourself under stress, you are even less likely to remember these details.
List the names of the professionals you work with, their business name, phone number, and address in the binder. These professionals include:
– Financial planner
– Insurance agent
– School teacher or office administrator
– Service providers (gardeners, housekeepers, etc.)
– Utility companies
2. Insurance Names and Policy Numbers
Your spouse is almost certain to not remember your health insurance number. If he/she takes you to the hospital and your insurance card isn’t on you, finding proof of insurance becomes a stressful hassle. At a minimum, have copies of your health insurance card(s) in the binder. Also include policy numbers for your:
– Auto insurance
– Home/renter’s insurance
– Life insurance
– Long-term care insurance
3. Family Medical Information
There are a million things to remember when leaving your children with a family member for a few days. If your child has an emergency, giving the care person a copy of this binder could be lifesaving. Include details like:
– Food or medicine allergies
– List of medications
– Immunization records
– Significant medical history details
– Pediatrician name and contact information
4. Recent Photographs
There are several reasons you might quickly need a recent ID or photograph of yourself or another family member. Some of these reasons are scary, so I won’t dwell on them here! Regardless, please consider keeping some updated, clear photos of each family member in your binder.
5. Estate Plan Information
Your estate documents should be stored away in either your filing cabinet or attorney’s office (ideally, both!). However, you might consider putting a few of these documents into the binder as well. You might want to include a copy of:
– Healthcare Power of Attorney
– Power of Attorney
– Will (if you have children who will need an immediate guardian)
At the very least, list the names and contact information of the individuals named in these roles. They may need contacted in an emergency to fulfill their duties. If you haven’t created these documents yet, read my tips on getting started.
Note: Be sure these individuals 1) know they ARE listed 2) understand their role and 3) know how to contact your attorney!!
6. Other Emergency Contacts
List the name, phone number, and address of people you trust. You can pull this sheet out anytime the babysitter comes, which makes it useful in more than just emergencies. Consider:
– Close Friends
You might think of additional information that would be useful in the case of an emergency. Add it in! Make this binder work for you and your family. Be sure that your emergency contacts know where to find the binder in your home. You could even consider leaving a copy with someone you trust. Note: there are always security concerns with your confidential information, so be sure it is stored securely!
I strongly encourage you to take the time to put together this binder. It’s always better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it! Remember, you can always make your own customized binder, or you can use my template.