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Ask Bindertek:

I saw an emergency binder on Pinterest and am looking to make one for my family. What would you recommend?

We believe there is a binder for all situations—even emergencies! Here at Bindertek, we used our binder organization system to weather a week-long power outage in fall 2011. With generators running, our staff were able to provide customer support and ship orders, all thanks to organized binders containing all our accounts, contacts, and operating procedures. To ensure your family is prepared in any emergency, you’ll want to create your own binder. Instead of containing accounts and operating procedures, yours will include identifying information and evacuation plans.

Your emergency binder is a snapshot of your family, your assets, and your emergency plans. There are great free printable checklists which will save time, or you can make your own. Work your way through the following list of categories and decide what is relevant to your situation.

  • Identification: birth certificates, driver’s license, passports, adoption records, marriage license
  • Medical: medical records, current medications, immunization records, contact information for your medical professionals
  • Financial: bank statements, retirement statements, tax documents, work permits
  • Home: proof of lease or mortgage, title, insurance statements
  • Auto: registration, proof of lease of ownership, title, insurance statements
  • Momentos: family photos, letters, children’s artwork

As you add copies of these items to your emergency binder, back up a copy on an external drive or in a cloud filing system. Keep additional copies or the originals in a locked, waterproof and fireproof container. If you have a lot of paperwork, your backup copies could be organized in a series of color-coded folders that close securely with an elastic band.

Organize in a view binder with custom index tabs like this blogger, or choose a durable metal binder (our pick) if you need your emergency binder to last through harsh conditions. Make sure you choose a binder with enough room to add new documents as your life evolves and remember to refresh your emergency binder as needed. Buy a new car? Add the title and other information to your emergency binder before you forget.

Do you already have an evacuation plan in place? Use this opportunity to create or optimize your evacuation plan. FEMA offers a downloadable PDF to guide you through creating an emergency communication plan that will suit your family’s situation and needs.

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Don’t settle for second best. Bindertek’s collection of top-quality binders, binder-friendly shelving, office supplies and executive desk accessories are designed to maximize productivity. Let us help you create an organized, elegant, and efficient workspace.