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Your Family Needs an Emergency Binder - Here's Why


If you’ve ever PCS’d, you know the importance of having a well-organized PCS binder. Emergency Binders, like a PCS binder, keep everything you need in case of an emergency in one place. 

This post will explore what you should include and how to organize your emergency binder.

First, purchase a binder at least 1” thick and plastic sheet protectors.  Place documents inside the sheet protectors to avoid having to punch holes in your important paperwork.  To be even more organized, use a package of tabbed dividers to separate documents into sections to locate them quickly.

There are two main parts to an Emergency binder. The first section should include Family Information, including:

  • Bank and investment accounts

  • Bills, when and how they’re paid, logins, etc.

  • Credit cards

  • Health insurance information, doctors, and medical information, including allergies and medications

  • Legal documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, adoption documents

  • Medical powers of attorney for children, wills, durable powers of attorney

  • Notes for caring for children 

  • Notes for caring for pets

  • Phone numbers for immediate family, friends, and neighbors, and extended family

All of this information will help a caregiver who isn’t familiar with you and your family. 

The second half of the binder should include more specific information:

  • Access instructions to digital data

  • Employer information

  • Life insurance plans

  • Military information - ensure service member’s most current information is in here. 

  • Safes and safe deposit boxes locations and codes 

  • Social media and website information

  • Steps to paying bills each month

  • Titles/deeds/lease agreements

  • Wills or where to find them

  • How to use the binder

After you’ve assembled this binder with the information important to you and your family, decide where you’ll keep it. If your family has an emergency action plan, make sure everyone in your household knows where the binder is located. Then, in the case of an emergency, make sure to grab the binder before leaving your home. 

As your family grows, you should add more to it - like power of attorney paperwork and medical directive information. This binder will help cover the important day-to-day activities that someone would need to step in and handle if there’s a disaster or unforeseen event. Knowing you have all your documents in one place can give you real peace of mind, too.


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