Severe weather can happen at any time and it usually doesn’t check with you first to make sure its coming at a convenient time. Therefore, it is beneficial to remind you of how important it is to have an emergency plan in place before disaster strikes.
If you have never thought about creating an emergency plan, a great place to start is www.ready.gov. This website will help you create a plan, and build and maintain a kit to prepare yourself for your greatest disaster risks.
Otherwise, I recently discovered an excellent blog, A Bowl Full of Lemons. The blog’s author, Toni Hammersly, wrote a blog series on Emergency Preparedness that goes step by step on how to prepare for an emergency and what to include in your emergency kit.
One item Toni says to include in your emergency kit is an Emergency Preparedness Binder. This binder will include photocopies, or better yet the originals, of all your important information. Possible documents to include are:
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- Drivers License
- Social Security Card
- DD 214 (Military Record)
- Advanced Medical Directive
- Power of Attorney
- Baptism Records
- Life Insurance Policy
- Home Insurance Policy
- Insurance Cards
- Will or Trust
- Deeds and Titles
- Credit Cards (both sides)
TIP: If you use photocopies, specify where original documents came from (Example: Marriage Certificate came from Allegan County Courthouse). Also, save a copy of all documents included in the binder on a zip drive or saved 'in the cloud', such as with Dropbox.com. Store your emergency binder in a water and fire proof safe that can be bolted down to the floor, such as this safe.
Other important information to include in your Emergency Preparedness Binder include:
- Information about your family’s health records (especially those with special needs)
- A family emergency plan
- Insurance policies and phone numbers
- Emergency phone numbers (Fire department, Gas, Electric Company, Police, Poison Control, etc)
- Family phone numbers (closest relatives, neighbors, baby sitters, etc).
Toni encourages readers to start setting aside cash for your emergency fund. A smart plan is to save $2 per family member, per paycheck. Combine bills and coins, because in the event of a major disaster, electricity will most likely be out and credit cards wont work.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed with everything that should go into your emergency binder, check out Toni’s blog, www.abowlfulloflemons.net. I encourage you to read through the eight week blog series about Emergency Preparedness and start creating your emergency plan. To help you get started, she sells an E-Book ($10) including the entire 8 week blog series, and Emergency Binder printables.
The E-Book includes:
- Checklist for setting up your storage area
- Food & Water Storage Guide
- 72 Hour Kit Checklist
- First Aid Kit Inventory
- First Aid Kit Printable
- Important Documents & Cash Stash Checklist
- “Grab” in case of emergency list
- List of personal documents to place in Emergency Binder
- Family Emergency Plan Printable
- Insurance Policies Printable
- Family Health Information Printable
- Emergency Numbers Printable
- Important Numbers Printable
- Supplies Tips
- EmergencySupplies Checklist
- Faraday Cage Directions
- Hygiene & Pet Kit Sheet
- Hygiene List
- Pet Kit Checklist
- Comfort Kit Checklist
- Fun Kit Checklist
- and more!
Don’t forget to include a copy of your home inventory list! This can be written or via photos or video.
View this aftermath photo from a tornado that struck the town of Fairview, IL on April 9, 2015. Put yourself in that situation. Think about how difficult it would be to sift through the debris to locate all of your important documents and to communicate to your insurance agent all that you own for your claim settlement. Hmmm…make your life easier in preparation for any loss and complete a home inventory.
*NOTE: Reno Agency is in no way affiliated with A Bowl Full of Lemons nor do we receive any compensation for sales of their E-Book. We just feel they are a great resource to share with our readers.
About the Author: Amber Whitman is the marketing consultant for the Reno Agency.