72 Hour Kit Series Week #17: Important Documents

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Welcome!Week #17 in a step by step 72 hour kit series.  Makes building a robust, personalized 72 hour kit affordable and do-able!

Welcome to week #11 in the “72 Hour Kit Ideas: A week by week approach” series.

This series is all about making it simple and do-able to get a 72 hour kit put together for you and your family.

Creating such a kit can be overwhelming and financially difficult to do all at once. But through this series, I’ve broken it down for you into 26 small steps! You can see all the steps here. Just take one small baby step each week and in 6 months you will have a well stocked, personalized kit!

You can even go through the series a few times over a year or two adding just the most basic supplies the first six months and then a few more “extra” supplies each time you cycle through it again.

Want even more help?Build a robust, personalized 72 hour kit one week at a time over 26 weeks

This series is also available as an e-book. Purchasing the e-book gives you a few additional benefits over just reading the free series:

  • Additional details and tips
  • The ability to print the entire book!
  • Pictures of my own kit showing just how I pack each week.
Download “Your Own 72 Hour Kit Plan” E-Book Now!

And if you like the printables below, you may also like this fantastic “Prepare My Life Planner.”  Not free like the printables, but SO worth the money!

Last Week:

I hope all of you were able to add tools to your kit last week!

Week #23: Important Documents

Before I start this week, the #1 question I have gotten about this post is “Where can I find a water proof, fireproof safe that will fit 8×11 documents and is reasonably priced?”   Well, I use the SentrySafe H230 and you can find it by clicking on this link.  Okay, on to the meat of the post!

It is unlikely that any documents you choose to include in your kit will keep you alive.  (-: However, having them all organized and together can make your life so much easier now! (and in the event of an emergency).  I use my binder regularly and it is so nice having it all in one place.  Read through the comments to see many, many situations when people have used their binders on normal days as well as in an emergency.

Making insurance claims, searching for missing loved ones (heaven forbid), staying in touch with family and friends, traveling around the country and accessing your financial accounts will all be much easier if you have some essential documents at your fingertips.

I’m simply going to walk you page by page through my “emergency documents binder.”  I keep this near our kit, but not in it as I access and use it often.   And yes, it is somewhere safe and well hidden.


Family Evacuation Plan:72 Hour Kit Documents: Evacuation Plan.  Part of a 26 week series that makes building a personalized 72 hour kit do-able and affordable!

The front cover:

Download it:

Nathan (my husband) and I each have our own prioritized list of what our responsibilities will be when / if we need to evacuate.  If we are given 10-30 minutes notice, we start in at the top or the first list and try to get through as much as we can.  The stuff at the bottom of the list isn’t as essential as the stuff at the top.  If given just a few minutes to evacuate (and doing so on foot), we use the second lists instead.  You can read more about our family evacuation plan here. (although I need to edit it a bit online…the printed one is more accurate!)


Important Phone Numbers:

The first page:

Download it:

This front side of this page has 6 boxes on it:

  • A box with our address and phone numbers
  • A box with “essential” info for every member of our family (name, DOB, allergies)
  • A box that says: “If you are unsure who to call and it is an emergency, dial 911!
  • A box with phone numbers to all our insurance companies along with the insurance policy numbers (car, life, health etc)
  • A box with other important emergency numbers (poison control, 24 hr nurse line, gas company, plummer, etc)
  • A box with our doctor’s phone numbers.

I have a 2nd copy of this printed and posted inside our pantry for babysitters and even my own use.  I don’t want to have to take the time to look up poison control or even my children’s doctors #s each time I need them.  And if I need the gas shut off, I want it done quick.  Having this posted makes my life simpler.

The back side of this page has 5 boxes on it:

  • My husband’s family’s numbers (parents, siblings, grandparents)
  • My family’s numbers
  • Local friend’s numbers
  • Non-local friend’s numbers
  • Other important numbers

    72 Hour Kit Documents: Cards.  Part of a 26 week series that makes building a personalized 72 hour kit do-able and affordable!

Socials & Insurance IDs

In business card sheet protector:

They are easy to access.  I always know where they are and will have them in the event of an emergency.  Enough said.


Family Pictures72 Hour Kit Documents: Family Picture.  Part of a 26 week series that makes building a personalized 72 hour kit do-able and affordable!

In photo sheet protector

If you were to lose a child (during a natural disaster or otherwise) and then find him / her, you may have to prove that he /she belongs to you.  This would be especially true if the child was injured / incoherent and unable to recognize you for any reason.  Having a older and more recent family photo is one very quick way to prove that this child does and has belonged to you for some time.  We will be getting family pictures taken on Saturday, so I will be adding a more recent picture then.  The picture you see is the only one I currently have that includes Bethany, but she is older now.


Child ID Kits

With pertinent documents behind it.

Download it:72 Hour Kit Documents: Child ID Kit.  Part of a 26 week series that makes building a personalized 72 hour kit do-able and affordable!

I created this Child ID Kit after searching for a free one online and not finding one I liked.  Print it out on cardstock.  Write it all the info you can about your child off to the right.  Take their fingerprints and be sure to include the date at the top.  Update this page every 6 months.  These pages are the main reason I keep this folder with me at all times.  If I were to every lose my child, I’d want the police to have all their information as quickly as possible.  I’ve heard horror stories of mothers who can’t remember their children’s birth dates (read similar stories in the comments below), eye color etc. b/c they are so distraught with worry.  I don’t want that to happen to me.72 Hour Kit Documents: Child ID Kit.  Part of a 26 week series that makes building a personalized 72 hour kit do-able and affordable!  You may also consider including a DNA sample (a piece of hair will do).


A tip for the fingerprints: DO NOT “roll” your finger when pressing it on the paper.  This can cause the ridges to distort.  And don’t use too much ink: practice on a piece of paper first!


One more note from one of my great readers comments: “Doing your own fingerprints at home can sometimes be difficult because of smudging, etc. Another option is to get a fingerprint card taken at any local police station/sheriff’s office. It’s free at my local police station, but sometimes they charge a small fee. You just need to take a photo ID with you when you go.”

Behind each of my Child ID kits (in the same sheet protector), I keep that child’s birth certificate & shot record.  My kids have no allergies or health concerns, but if they did, I would keep details on that info in this sleeve as well.  If your child does have allergies, I suggest you read TJ’s advice (she is a reader here) about what she does for her kids (read it here)


Adult ID Kits

With pertinent documents behind them

Download it:72 Hour Kit Documents: Adult ID Kit.  Part of a 26 week series that makes building a personalized 72 hour kit do-able and affordable!

If my husband and I were to go missing or not be found after a natural disaster, I would once again want to quickly give authorities as much info as I could.  I keep our birth certificates, immunization records and passports behind each kit.


Pet ID Kit:

I don’t have pets, but many of you do!  One of my fabulous readers, Wren from Her Hero, His Lady created a Pet ID Kit based off the ID kit above.  So, if you have a pet (I do not), you can now download and use her fabulous template!  Thanks Wren!


Financial Info:72 Hour Kit Documents: Financial Info.  Part of a 26 week series that makes building a personalized 72 hour kit do-able and affordable!

and extra cash / cards

I keep a written copy of all our log-in information for our various online accounts including banks, insurance, cell phone, school loans, facebook, email etc.  (And I’m NOT telling you where I hide this folder!) I do not save this anywhere on my computer though I do store it in a secure online database.  I also keep cash and an extra set of credit cards here.


Other Important Document:

Everything else…

I have a sleeve where I keep all other documents I want a copy of.  Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider:72 Hour Kit Documents.  Part of a 26 week series that makes building a personalized 72 hour kit do-able and affordable!

  • Property titles (homes, autos, boats etc)
  • Insurance policies
  • Copy of car registration
  • Will
  • Medical directive
  • Marriage License
  • Written Home inventory (and a DVD of a video inventory)
  • Map of your area


I keep the entire folder well hidden but I won’t tell you where.  I suggest keeping it in a water and fire-proof safe.


Concerns About the Risks 

I’ve had many, many people comment or send me emails about their concern over this post.  Some have been very kind, others, not so much.

First, all the numbers / important info in the pictures has been blurred / blocked with software that will not allow it to be “cleaned up.”

Second, yes, having all this in one place creates a risk.  But there is risk no matter what.  If you don’t have the folder at all there are risks.  If you keep it in your home there are risks.  You have to weigh which risk is less scary to you. For me, I’ve decided the risk of not having it is scarier than the risks created by having it.  My folder is very well hidden and does not call attention to itself.  If it were to be stolen, I would know very soon after the fact and would immediately take measures to protect my identity.

The risks of not having this folder and needing it are much more common (just read them comments below about all the times people wished they’d had one).  Some aren’t serious, some are, but I feel “safer” having it.  If you don’t and feel the risks outweigh the benefits, then by all means, don’t make one!  If you are nervous about the risk and what some other ideas, read the comments below, there are lots of great ideas from my fabulous readers!  And if you want to chime in with some other ideas or possible solutions, feel free!  I love differing opinions.  But please, be kind!  Being mean never helps anyone.  (-:


How About You?

Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts about this folder.  Do you have one?  Will you be updating it?  Will you not make one?  Why?

Skip to:

Week #16:Tools Week #18: Religious Items Week #1: Packaging Your Kit Series Into: 72 Hour Kit Series, A Week by Week Approach



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875 comments on “72 Hour Kit Series Week #17: Important Documents

  1. Thanks for this post, found it via pinterest. I have a binder, but I sheepishly admit that I have not updated it in . . . aarrggh, so long! I will get to it asap, and add more comprehensive info for all members of the family, inspired by your suggestions.

  2. I’ve been needing to do this for quite sometime. I am so tired of needing a birth certificate or SS card/number and not being able to get to it. I actually thought I lost my boys’ cards earlier this year… oops. My idea was to keep a binder at my house and make a copy of the binder to keep in my mom’s house as a back up. If something were to happen to my husband and myself at the same time, she would be the one to take care of the children and to handle everything.

  3. Bethany on said:

    Hi! Are these templates still available? I followed the links but they are no longer working.

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Lina Musick on said:

    Just have to say i am thrilled to find your site…linked from Pinterest. I love to see what others have come up with. Will share some of my ideas when i have a bit more time.
    Lina Musick

  5. KATHRINA on said:

    Do you put the originals for the birth certificates and ssc or would a copy do?

    • Hi Kathrina. I think for most purposes you must have original documents, but I’m sure in a true emergency situation, a whole binder of copied documents would be helpful until you could get to the originals!

  6. Molly H on said:

    I absolutely love my important documents binder. Even in non-emergency situations I have found myself going to the binder and getting out exactly what I need, such as my husband’s truck title when we got rid of the truck. I know exactly where everything is and everyone in the family knows where to get it. We also have our computer hard drives, extra set of keys, and passports with ours too.

  7. Kristi on said:

    I love this idea, and am working on getting our notebook together. I have a couple of questions about some things you have mentioned. First, you said that you have backups securely stored online. Would you be willing to share what site / service you use for that? Second, you have said that if your notebook is stolen, you would immediately take steps to protect your identity. I have no idea how I would go about protecting or recovering my identity if it were stolen. Would you be willing to share what you would do in that situation? Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your hard work and ideas!

    • Hi Kristi! I’m so glad you’ve found the post helpful!

      In answer to your questions, I use carbonite for my online backup and have been very happy with them so far. And this is what I would do if my notebook was stolen: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0274-immediate-steps-repair-identity-theft

  8. John everyman on said:

    OH no you should NOT have everything you need to prove your you in one easy to steal binder. This could ruin you and your whole family’s life for years. There is too much info right here on this page for YOU’R family

    • Thanks for your thoughts John. I’m not sure if you read the whole post, but I do address this at the end (as you are certainly not the first to be concerned about our family!) I’ve had many, many people comment or send me emails about their concern over this post. Some have been very kind, others, not so much. I appreciate that you were not unkind in your comment.

      First, all the numbers / important info in the pictures has been blurred / blocked with software that will not allow it to be “cleaned up.”

      Second, yes, having all this in one place creates a risk. But there is risk no matter what. If you don’t have the folder at all there are risks. If you keep it in your home there are risks. You have to weigh which risk is less scary to you. For me, I’ve decided the risk of not having it is scarier than the risks created by having it. My folder is very well hidden and does not call attention to itself. It is in a safe. If it were to be stolen, I would know very soon after the fact and would immediately take measures to protect my identity.

      The risks of not having this folder and needing it are much more common (just read comments on the post about all the times people wished they’d had one). Some aren’t serious, some are, but I personally feel “safer” having it. If you don’t and feel the risks outweigh the benefits, then by all means, don’t make one! If you are nervous about the risk and what some other ideas, read the comments below, there are lots of great ideas from my fabulous readers! Thanks again!

  9. Christine on said:

    I have every intention of doing this, asap. You just never know what will happen and since I may be moving with my 3 children…and a newborn into a new home by myself… I want all my “ducks” in a row. I find myself happy that most of this is already pulled together, but these ID kits are just the thing to top it off!
    I loved the idea from a commenter about adding blood type. Almost all of us are O-pos but one of my children is O-neg and I think it can be quite important to have it in there.
    Speaking of the newborn, I’ll be in the hospital in 2 weeks and since I have no way to finger-print the children myself right now I’m curious if the hospital will help me while I’m there. I do recall with my last child that when they did her little prints they let the older two have a moment with the ink pad. Maybe it can be a productive moment this time. Lol. Here’s hoping, ’cause that’d be terribly convenient.
    I do have 2 questions:
    Why every 6 months? Is it because of the picture and if anything changes? If so, can we not just replace photo and maybe use some white-out? I just can’t imagine hunting it down/printing it out for 6+ people every 6 months. Or perhaps I could print on both sides and when it’s time to use the flip-side I scan it first for new prints. (I don’t want to rely on having internet when needed in the future…I know, odd, but it happens.)
    A commenter mentioned the DNA swabs, which is pretty brilliant and I certainly don’t want to rip a child’s hair from their head. But I am curious if anyone knows how long a swab would last? Naturally, I’m thinking if I don’t have a good/concrete answer on this that I could just do new ones every 6 months or so with the rest of it.
    I look forward to checking out the rest of your site. Thanks :)

    • Christine on said:

      Longest comment, ev-er! Blame it on the “baby brain”. They say it’s a real thing, this mommy/baby/pregnancy fog & loss of marbles. ;)

    • Hi Christine! You are spot on! I only really update the photo every six months. I don’t re-do the fingerprints. Occasionally (like if you move) the medical contact info and school etc will need to be updated too.

      As for the DNA swab, as long as it is done correctly, I believe it should last forever. (-:

  10. Jenny Blaylock on said:

    Thank you for making emergency prep into a simple step-by-step process. I’m starting the 23 Important Documents today! I look forward to reading more.

  11. Julie on said:

    I think this is an awesome idea….I will be starting one for my family today!!! thank you so much for drawing attention to what needs to be known after a disaster

  12. Hilary on said:

    How much money per person do you keep – or if you don’t want to say, how did you calculate how you needed/wanted to have?

    • I didn’t really use any organized system to decide Hilary and in fact, I still add to it. I just decided how much I could afford to add monthly and then just build it up bit by bit. Right now, I think I have about $150 per person.

      And really, for three days, that is going to be plenty. But if you end up dealing with trouble for more than 3 days, you’ll want more…..

      I know that isn’t exactly what you were wanting, but hopefully still a bit helpful!

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  14. Sure, there may be a risk to this…but you have a social security card somewhere no matter what, right? What’s the different if it’s in your wallet, your desk, or in a binder like this?

    No reason to be rude. This is really helpful, in my opinion. Just customize it – if you don’t like having your fingerprints in the book, don’t add them. Yeesh.

    Thanks for the incredibly helpful post!

  15. Jordan Duckro on said:

    Thank you for the info! I already have a binder, but this is definitely going to help me update it! I’m really glad I read this! I love the idea of the Adult and child ID cards, especially in case (god forbid) something happen to one of us! This makes me want to leave work and go buy a whole new binder and start over to make it perfect! Thank you so much!!!!!!

  16. I just love this survival kit, however, I do have one question. You said to add $1 per person in your family or use quarters. I was just curious as to why? And what are the $1’s for?
    Thank you!

  17. Katie McHwirter on said:

    Could you possibly do a sheet for tattoos? Somewhere you could put a description, location, photo, etc? A lot of times, people are identified by tattoos alone.

  18. Mary on said:

    I came across this as a post on my facebook. I love the idea. This is exactly what I needed to help get me organized and with a plan. Living where there are tornados, this plan is a must. Thank you so much.

  19. Lynda Mills on said:

    Saved the pin a while back but just now getting back to it — thanks for the terrific info— I’ll also have to make this a priority and squeeze time in to put it together. I try to be this organized but fail most of the time– this really helps get the motivation going !!

  20. I am reading this because I saw a link to this post on Pinterest and am always looking for ways to better prepare my family for an emergency. We live in southern Louisiana and hurricanes are a pretty common occurrence for us. We have a little firebox that we have always kept all of our information in, but I really like the idea of a binder better. You have much more information in your binder than I keep in our firebox, and it seems to be more easily portable. I will be updating my records ASAP (definitely before hurricane season!) AND I plan to read through this whole series. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together and share it!!

  21. This is absolutely great I am a retired Marine, 63, and I wouldn’t have thought of all this. Thanks for your hard work.

  22. Michelle on said:

    Misty, As a foster parent and future adoptive parent, I need to be organized and your information is a life saver. Thank you so much for sharing your organizational tips with us. I strive to be better organized and this will help me out a lot.

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  26. Caitlin on said:

    Hello, I just found this post and I truly appreciate it! I am a bit OCD myself and having this kit all together will make me feel so much better! I am just a newlywed but am still going to but this together for my husband and I, but how can I edit the docs? I am having trouble editing the text boxes and don’t want to delete and start over because I want to use your bullets as a guide for mine!

    Appreciate the help!

    Thanks, Caitlin

  27. Crystal on said:

    From one OCD gal to another high five. We have in the back of our minds what if something happens to my child?! I love that you put a form together on your spouse because I never thought about having that information on us!!!

    Ok a couple things that might help and forgive me if I am repeating anything on here I haven’t gotten too far into the site but wanted to share my experience from my days as a 911 dispatcher.
    Fingerprints don’t change after 6 months of age so the good news is once your child hits one you won’t ever have to struggle with this again! However once a child is older and can help instead of hinder you might want to make a clean set. Watch for child safety events in your town. A neighboring town had a great child information kit including a swab for the inside cheek. I believe these kits are also available online but not sure where.

    Calling 911 it is important to prepare a child on how to call 911. We would I encourage parents to call ahead of time on the non emergency line to let us know they were going to call. Then have your child dial 911 and speak with the call taker so they can see this is a nice person that is there to help. We teach our children that you don’t call 911 unless it’s and emergency so this gives them a point of reference if they need it! You can also go into most police and fire departments and get a tour which might help your child with who to approach etc.

    Another thing that we never think of is how to use a fire extinguisher you never know when your child might need to do this.

    I hope some of this helps, I always wanted to put a program together for schools but never was able to. Yes we need to talk to our child about bein prepared for the worst not just about drugs!

  28. McCoko on said:

    I have to disagree with you when you say not to roll your fingerprint. I was a forensic scientist for quite a while and you absolutely should roll your fingerprint in order to get the full print. You don’t always touch everything with just the pad of your finger. Having a rolled print ensures that if a print comparison needs to be made it can be made from any portion of the print. True, smudging is a concern but use of minimal ink and a steady slow roll will help.

    • Thanks McCoko. I appreciate your opinion and apologize for my late response. That was a tip I got from the police department. They said that most who try to do fingerprints on their own do a poor job and that an incomplete print is better than a totally smudged one. But maybe with the minimal ink and steady slow roll it would be okay. I may include both in mine!

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  31. Cyndi C. on said:

    Thank you so much for compiling this list. I especially love the Pet ID page. Not having children, my pug Cisco(grumpiest and laziest dog ever!!!)is my baby. So finding something that would be beneficial for him and me is awesome! In the military we had something similar as to what you have but ours is called an “I Love Me” book, as it’s to pertain all important documents a soldier should have. I was originally looking for a specific list of important documents to keep together because due to a lot of ADD and a love of sheet protectors I end up with a book of important and unnecessary documents. So I was looking for something to help me organize. If you by chance have a important document list for us ADD and page protector love challenged people I would greatly appreciate it! ;)

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  33. Thanks so much! I’ve finally got all the vital records easily organized and in case of an emergency I can grab it and go. Once it was all organized I realized I was missing one child’s SS card and that we didn’t have 2 of the adopted children’s new Birth Certificates. Now getting these items is on my to do list and it’s not going to be a big panic when we need them. This was a life saver when we had to find the girls birth certificates quickly this summer. I can understand everyone’s security concerns my suggestion would be not to label it and stick it in a random spot. Thanks so much for the suggestion and I’m glad mine is done.

  34. Carrol Pope on said:

    Great site will be back. I’m almost 65 & a recent (2yrs) widow. My youngest daughter and her husband live with me along with my 11 year old adopted son. I have only started this past year with prepping on a larger scale. So glad to have a site like yours. Also, happY to you have included prepping for pets. Thank you.

  35. Barbara on said:

    I have a binder, will add more to it, but I will also be copying everything digitally, encrypting it, and storing it in the cloud at my paid backup site. If we, who are retired seniors, have to evacuate, we will go to one of our sons’ homes in another state. We will be able to access everything from there.

    This is all very valuable information. From one who grew up in tornado alley and now lives in hurricane heaven, I understand the risks from disasters and the value of being well prepared for anything. Thank you so much!

  36. Rachel on said:

    We also have a evacuation plan if you are not at home; who picks up which kids from their schools if we are at work, a family meeting place if we cant get to our home. Our teenager knows where to go if he is out and a major event happens knowing cellphone probably wont work well.

    Thanks these templates are awesome!

  37. Samantha on said:

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to bring this preparedness idea to our attention. It truly is one of those “pros” and “cons” ideas given the direction society/government has taken. Keep up the good work, glad to have discovered your site, and God’s blessings upon all who visit here.

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  40. As a mother of two small children, a pet and spouse this weeks comments make me realize that I am no way ready for an emergency. I do have a CHIP kit that I did 3 years ago with DNA and etc from our local police department but nothing with our financial records or updated pictures and information. Thank you for posting all of is. It is going to be my next project!

  41. This….is amazing! I’ve done the same thing with my documents and necessities. Way to go!

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  43. I didn’t read through all the comments, so someone else may have already suggested this, but having an extra set of car and house keys could be helpful too. If you grab the book quickly in the case of an emergency, you’d have the keys too.

  44. My family has “bug-out-bags” for each family member including my children. The bags include basic necessities (you can find some good examples online, I won’t get into the contents here.) But the backpacks are very distinctive and include a colorful “boonie” hat that my children KNOW to wear in case we get separated. I have laminated photos of each kid actually wearing their hats and backpacks in my bag. If we get separated, most people will forget a person’s features, but they won’t forget distinctive clothing! My kids also have photos of us in their bag. A group family photo is a great idea too.

    • Love that idea Kristian! Sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it! Things ahve been busy here. But I REALLY like the distinctive clothing idea.

      Also, this post is part of a larger 26 week series all about putting together a great bug out bag! I’d love to have your input on some of the other posts!

  45. Concerned Reader on said:

    I have no doubt that you have all of the best intentions in the world. But good intentions are not enough to keep you alive. If and when the SHTF, people need to become anonymous. Records can get you killed. Especially if the government has your DNA and/or your fingerprints. And what are you going to do with your SS cards when the economy collapses. Please for you own sake and the sake of you readers, try to realize what is really important. Food, bugout shelter, water, medicines and first aid kit. The rest can be re obtained at a later time from a safe, hidden, location if things get back to normal.

    • Thank you for your input. I focus on preparing for life, not just SHTF scenarios and I use this folder regularly to make my life much easier / better. I appreciate differing opinions, but this is what I feel is best for my family.

  46. Great website, very helpful. And if someone thinks any tip is such a bad idea they can always *NOT* do it. No one ever agrees 100% with anyone, ever! It IS great when people add well-thought-out tips or concerns that you may not have thought of. Please continue sharing!

    • Thanks Ghana! I agree….I LOVE the well thought out concerns people bring up. Different perspectives / ideas are always a good thing when expressed appropriately! I appreciate your support.

  47. Autumn on said:

    To all who are concerned about the risk aspect. My father used to be in high security work and he used these binders. I used one of these binders as my emergency binder….

    I no longer know where you can get it, but you can add up to 100 page protectors to it and obviously things like spare keys, etc. Mine was $110 but worth it. Something to think about. I’m sure a Google search will pull one up somewhere.

  48. Kathleen Krone on said:

    I love these ideas but I had a thought, all important paper work, Wills, insurance, account numbers etc. . as well as video inventory can be placed on an SD card and placed in safe place as well as copies being made and saved with a trusted person. This way I have the originals in a safe place but as my husband and I travel, if something happened or son has a copy in his safe to take care of everything with minimum storage space for him.

  49. Tara Moodie on said:

    Love the information. Found you link on Pinterest and this is one of the best sites with information like this that I have found on Pinterest. Every parent should have a blinder like the one in week 23? I even sent your link to all my friends on facebook. Hope they all like it to.

    Thanks Tara
    P.S I checked the human box even though my boys sometimes wonder about that.

  50. Teresa on said:

    Just did this last weekend! Wish I had seen this post first! It FEELS SO GOOD to have my ducks in a row. Agreed, the benefits of having all this info FINALLY organized far outweighs the risks. Will definitely read the rest of your blog. Thank you for the time you have taken to compile this info and share it with others.

  51. I might be repeating this…I tried to post and it didn’t show up so here’s my question…possibly again. Sorry.

    Are the SSC’s, Insurance cards, and other documents copies only? Or do they need to be the real deal in order to be of any use in an emergency?

    I don’t know if this has already been mentioned but I try to keep an updated copy of wallet contents (kept in a safe place) for those “everyday emergencies” when a wallet may get lost or stolen.

    • I keep the originals in mine b/c I’m a better safe than sorry type of gal. I’d hate for someone to say “I need an original” and not hhave it. However, I know many people who keep copies and have the originals in a safety deposit box. That works too!

      • Thanks Misty, I really appreciate your view on all of this stuff. I love working on this kind of stuff but I often get overwhelmed with all the possibilities so it’s nice to have your example to look at. I had another question, if I made an order through your Thrive account, could I have my Dad pick it up in American Fork instead of have it shipped? THanks!

  52. When you mention Social Security cards, insurance cards and other documents, are these copies only? Could they be copies or would they need to be the real ones if they had to be used during an emergency?

    Also, I don’t know if this has already been mentioned but for those “everyday emergencies” when a wallet gets lost or stolen, I try to keep an updated copy of wallet contents in a safe place for reference.

  53. Robin Talley on said:

    I think this is a great idea and I will be making one as soon as possible. I’m not sure how my fiance will react to all that info in one place but, I keep it all in one place now…just not as well organized. I’m also going to be looking at all your other survival series as this is the only one I’ve seen. I’m all about keeping my family safe!

  54. Natalie on said:

    After having tornados go thru our state and obliterate everything in their path, I have updated and added to my binder and continue to find new ideas for inside. You had some great ideas thanks so much.

  55. Laura on said:

    Howdy from the South!

    I think it is great that you’ve posted all this information to share! My family and I have our own binder that we started years ago when I’d moved away for college. In case anything happened to me or my parents while I was away, all the information would be together.

    I wanted to make a couple of suggestions, and I hope I’m not replicating anyone else’s. Our home alarm company made us provide a back up family member or friend in case they cannot get a hold the home owners. It would be great to have this person’s name and contact number in the binder.

    Also, above and beyond the binder, we have a small, packed carrying bag. Since we live in the south and have had to evacuate due to weather in the past, in it, we keep toothpaste and a toothbrush for each family member, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, a flashlight with batteries, and simple medical supplies such as Band-aids, antibacterial ointment and pain medications. All can be travel size, and we always rotate these because of expiration dates.

    We’ve known families to keep one bag or suitcase continually packed with a full set of clothes for each person and either a pillow, blanket or stuffed animal for the smallest member of the family. It may seem like a lot, but it’s provided a piece-of-mind that if we have to leave our house with nothing else, we will all have “The Basics.”

  56. Stephanie on said:

    Another important list I added to my binder is the list of “Previous Addresses” for both myself and my husband. We are young (in our 20s) and both work in the health care profession. For federal back ground checks (for school & our jobs), you must list all previous addresses within the last seven years. Between the address where I grew up, my college addresses, my graduate school addresses, and my current address now that I’m married, I’ve lived at 5 addresses in 7 years!! Personally, it helps me to have the exact addresses (with the dates I lived at that location) on one list. And this binder is my new place to keep the master list.

  57. Laurie on said:

    I think this is a great idea! I’m anal about this stuff and wish I would’ve already done. I would just take it one step further and scan everything to pdf’s (as your docs are) and save it, electronically, someplace, just in case. I love dropbox and google drive for this. Thank you so much for sharing. Going to start working on my own. :-)

  58. Victoria B. on said:

    I really love the idea of preparedness…Thanks so much for sharing…

    I may have found a safer way to store all of your important documents, for those who are uneasy about storing printed/paper versions. Its a bit pricy, but if you are really uncomfortable with Misty’s binder suggestion then this might be worth it to you…This allows you to store your info in an encryted manner with this flash drive with tons of safeguards…..Hope it helps


    • Thank you so much Victoria! Very helpful!

      • David on said:

        If you are going with a Flash drive… ( as I am )
        Then you MUST have Portable Apps ! http://portableapps.com/

        I found your post in a search for “Important Documents”. This is a very good article. I am working on my collection now.

        If you are going with a Flash drive… ( as I am )
        Then you MUST have Portable Apps ! http://portableapps.com/
        All documents will be scanned. The folder will be encrypted.
        It will easily go in my safe deposit box.

        THANK YOU Misty for this article! I’ll look over your document creations. David

  59. Haley Arrington on said:

    I just thought of something else to add to the Adult ID Kit. Piercings.
    I have ears and nose piercings

  60. Haley Arrington on said:

    I am making my life binder today! Thank you for the help!

  61. Jamie Vaccaro on said:

    Misty – I totally love your survival kit list! I live in Texas, Tornado Alley, and me and my family have tornado drills every year which include grabbing our pet, bag of lifelong negatives and pillows to cover our heads. After I read your blog, I realized I needed to revise our survival kit. During a move, we lost our original marriage license. That was heartbreaking to me because we can never get an original again. I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t like the survival kit idea. In a tornado, I don’t have time to run around the house gathering important information and IDs. Thanks again,

  62. suzette on said:

    I did the id books when my kids were small. Now my oldest is almost 29 and getting married. I never thought of doing it for my husband and me. Thank you.

  63. Christa on said:

    I am so doing this!!

  64. Brooke on said:

    I found this site on pintrest and never really thought of a survival book. Thank you for the information and in the morning I am going to start my own!

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  66. Nancy Daniels on said:

    Thank you so much for putting this together — I’ve been putting together a master book and your ideas and downloads are perfect.
    Off to explore the rest of your site & subscribe, but wanted to say thank you first!

  67. Hi, I think you book is amazing. Yes, there are many risks of having one around, but there is always risk and what ifs! I want to start this book but it seems so intimidating. I need to start at week one. Can you forward this information? I need lots of help! Looking forward to your reply.

    Thanks, Patty

  68. cheryl on said:


  69. Elspeth on said:

    I just stumbled across this on Pinterest (like many other folks) and have to say that being a military spouse, we are encouraged to make a “book of everything” as some have called it. I like your organized version far better and plan to squeeze in time to make mine better than it is. Right now it’s just a massive pile of papers filed into clear plastic protective sleeves, slapped into a flexible 3 ring binder. Thank you for all the files!

  70. Love the notebook idea – but have concerns about putting original documents in there. I think I would make two binders – one with originals and one with copies – and put the originals in a safe deposit box at the bank. The copies you can hide. Living in tornado country, if your house is completely demolished, any binder – even if well hidden – will disappear into the sky. I also like the idea of scanning it and giving it on a CD or DVD to trusted relatives for safekeeping and in case you need any of the information and are at a place where you can’t get to them.

  71. Wendy Wendy on said:

    Just pinned my favorite blog “Important Documents” to Pinterest.

  72. Hi Misty! I was so excited to see your Survival Kit series on Pintrest and said I was going to get started, then didn’t make the time. My mom just lost her home and most of her possesions when a tornado hit. She was smart and had an small survival kit in her closet where she goes in bad weather, and actually sits on it so she had it when her neighbors pulled her out. Now, more than ever do I realize how important this is. I have started my kit and I thank you so much for making it easier!

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  74. Melissa on said:

    Just really realized how important this site is. I live in Oklahoma and just went through the terrible tornadoes, seeing how everyone has lost EVERYTHING and how you truly need these documents, and actually seeing how little time you have to gather things up and what little we took with us. Putting them all together in a safe place and making them easily accessible is a wonderful idea. I will be starting my folder tomorrow and making my parents do the same. Thanks for all the good ideas.

  75. Melissa on said:

    Just really realized how important this site is. I live in Oklahoma and just went through the terrible tornadoes, seeing how everyone has lost EVERYTHING and how you truly need these documents, and actually seeing how little time you have to gather things up and what little we took with us. Putting them all together in a safe place and making them easily accessible is a wonderful idea. I will be starting my folder tomorrow and making my parents do the same.

  76. Sarah on said:

    How would you modify this for a single parent? I only have one child, but the evacuation plan has a lot of stuff on it so I need to narrow it down quite a bit.

    • I admire you single parents Sarah. You’ve got it tough! But the principle is the same. Just prioritize your list. Put the essential things first, then the important ones and then those that would be nice, but aren’t essential.

  77. Kelsey Ryan on said:

    I am completely inspired by this and want to make one for my entire family and friends. It can be dangerous, especially if poorly controlled..But the good outweighs the bad in this one. I’m printing first thing in the morning. And who knows…maybe it could save a life one day!

    Thank you!

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  79. Ruth on said:

    It saddens me that people would be so mean to you, with all your work you clearly put into this post. Some people are so miserable they just have to spread it — what a shame. I’m impressed at the thought you’ve put into this. Between your help and the fly lady’s help I might just finally get a grasp on this ciaos I call my life. Peace to you.

  80. Callie on said:

    I think this is wonderful! I have three children ages 5, 3, and 2. We currently live in an area that is often affected by hurricanes and tornadoes. I have spent a lot of time worrying about something happening, and not knowing what to do. Also when I was three years old my parents house caught on fire and completely burned. Fortunately we were not home so no one got hurt. But my parents had a hard time getting us enrolled in a new school, help from red cross, and anything else like that because all our birth certificates, social security cards, shot records, and even my mothers drivers license all burned in the fire. She has also told me to keep those documents in a safe place!

  81. Crystal on said:

    This is a fantastic idea! I will be starting my binder once I’m finished with this comment. I will be placing my binder in my fire/water proof safe. It’s where I have a lot of my documents anyway but there are not organized whatsoever. I love the child and adult ID kits and thank you for providing the downloads!

  82. I made one of these when I retired and named it “what my family needs to know”. We don’t have kids but we do have pets. I actually have it all in a plastic file box that we can easily take with us in case of emergency. And my index was so useful that the retirement seminar at the Foreign Service Institute uses it as a handout. I like your idea do the business card protector.

  83. Misty, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post. I have started putting things together but all of your print outs just have me thrilled and ready to go. Thank you for being generous with your time and resources!

    Something I thought about adding to this is a little more of a long term plan too. For example, what to do if there were a _______ emergency. Ie. If there were a possibility that a Hurricane were coming to your area and you had more than minutes to prepare, what specific tips would you want to leave yourself to prepare the home AND pack.

    If I do a post about what I am talking about with natural disaster planning, would you mind me linking your post and print outs to my post to show people your excellent work? I love it! Thanks again.

    • Sounds great Tiffany! That is a fabulous idea that I’d never even thought of. Email me when you post your tips. I’d loe to link back!

  84. Sundee Ward on said:


    I am a 53 year young woman who has been blessed with 4 adult children, 3 healthy grandchildren and 1 amazing 63 year young husband of 34 years :)

    WE are always looking for great ideas on getting and staying organized and prepared. Your site is fantastic and so easy to follow.

    We plan on starting today and look forward to more of your ideas.

    Thank you for taking the time to help other. The big guy in the sky has a special word for people like you….Angels : )

  85. Christy Garcia on said:

    Love this!!!!! Just one idea to add. I used a USB jump drive to store a back up of my photos and computer and I updated it about every other month. Again thanks for all the great info in one place!!!!

    • Thanks Christy! We do that as well (actually, it is on a large external hard drive b/c we also have video), but it would be a good idea to add it to the post. Thanks!

  86. Brittany on said:

    I’m working on a family management binder and had saved a number of pins for when the construction actually began. I like this post as it works well with practical application and how I organize my own thoughts. I’m wanting these emergency docs in with other things I need to manage our family…like the mother of all planners. This is part of a greater scheme of a Family Command Center and aides in my attempt to turn our life/family/house into a well-oiled machine.

    I get that there is sensitive information included in a binder like this, but many of the most sensitive things are already being carried around in our wallets. Maybe I’m being blasé or naive…? Certainly, I wouldn’t leave this lying round, but I don’t get the panic.

    I mostly plan to leave my binder at home in an accessible place in my command center (no, not in a safe…tsk, tsk) and will occasionally take it with me when the need arises. I WOULD like your suggestion of a “well hidden” place in the car! Can you email me?? (Does this comment give you my email?)

    I also plan on having a digital copy accessible from our devices, but I haven’t figured out the best, most secure way of doing that yet. I honestly believe that our digital belongings are more at risk than these physical copies, even in public. Hackers will go out looking for sensitive information they can get their hands on, but most people you cross paths with on a daily basis aren’t thieves.

    Thanks for your well composed thoughts. I am a perfectionist, so I’ll probably fabricate my own printables so that everything in my system matches, but I will definitely be implementing your ideas!

  87. Great article! I help people digitize these important documents, but everyone still needs a “Grab-N-Go Kit” with hard copies of those vital docs. I love the evacuation checklist. When in emergency happens it can ensure that you know exactly what to do. BTW – do you have an online password service to recommend or do you use a personal online database?

  88. Iliana on said:

    This is an amazing post! I will be making one soon!

  89. This is great, thank you. Maybe I missed it but what about including you and your husband’s wills? I would think this would be one of the number one items you would want.

  90. Nancy Allen on said:

    I think this is a fantastic idea! I agree, there are risks to having all that info in one place…but in an emergency, I cannot imagine being more grateful that we took the time and took the chance in making that easily accessible book! Priceless!

  91. Krista on said:

    I love this idea and am going to make me one asap!!! Thank you for sharing

  92. I found this post on Pinterest. I have a similar set up (and you’ve given me more ideas to add to it!) Last week, my infant son spiked a VERY high fever and we had to rush him to the ER. I grabbed my binder and off we went. The doctors asked if he had this vaccine or that shot, etc. etc. and I was able to give them the up-to-date printout I had of everything. I also keep his SS card and insurance card in there, so everything was in one place. We also live in hurricane country, so it’s great to be able to grab and go! Thanks for the post!

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  94. Carrie Mettille on said:

    Very informative. I will definitely be making one of these binders for my family. I have file of lives on my fridge and car, that has all my kids , mine and my husbands info obit in case of fire or car accident. You can get these at the police station or possibly the fire station.

  95. Pam Owston on said:

    Love, love, love this topic. I feel it is so important. That’s why I chose this article as my contribution to Pinterest for an entry to win the hand grinder.

  96. This is the week that got me hooked! Thanks Misty. This is a great idea and Misty is providing the templates FREE! One question: What is the need to have originals of documents? I am trying to understand if there is some benefit to having copies instead. Especially if I could leave my originals secured.

  97. Cindy on said:

    This is a great idea! If nothing else, someone could prepare part of the kit and keep in a safety deposit box. I will keep mine hidden well in my house.

  98. Stacy on said:

    This is my summer project. (I am a teacher.) I have some of the documents together, but I want to get it all together. Thanks for the guidance.

  99. Tiffany K. on said:

    I’ve printed the ID kits and filled them out. All we gotta do is put our finger prints on them and I need to print a picture for each one. I think I’ve rounded up all our important documents! I’m gonna like this all in one place!

  100. Mrs. Bunch on said:

    I have almost completed our family’s notebook. I created a single list of things to grab instead of two. Since the lists were similar I just made one long list to cut down on confusion. The items or actions are in order of importance. This way we can grab what we can regardless of the estimated time frame. It may take less or more time to get things ready. We just continue following the list until we have to leave. Thanks for the guidance!

  101. Heather S on said:

    I think it’s a good idea to have your information in once place, you never know when you might need to evacuate at the drop of hat and you need to be able to grab stuff and get out.

  102. Tiffany W on said:

    Started purchasing the sleeves and getting the info pulled together. Will take a bit longer than a week, but organizing is one of my favorite things to do. This project if right up my alley….hahaha!!! Thanks for all the templates!! Love it!!

  103. Lindsay on said:

    Thank you for all this great information and taking the time to post it all! I have been wanting to start our emergency kit for years, especially more now that we moved to a hurricane area. I do keep all our info in a safe place, but not in a folder together. I will start from this step then go back to step one. This will make it easier for my husband to find it all, too.

  104. Karrie Cook on said:

    This was the pin I saw on Pinterest that started my whole emergency kit obsession! I am about half way through organizing all my paperwork and keep everything in a fireproof safe. I need to make copies of everything and place it in a binder so we can grab and go if necessary. Such good info here, Misty! Thanks for the download files. I love them!

  105. LANEICE POTTER on said:

    I have a binder with copies in 1/2 inch foldBLE binder, and I have originals in a binder in another location

  106. kelley on said:

    You have inspired me to make a book for my home and family! I had nothing like this prepared, and if something were to happen we would be in serious trouble. Thank you for providing these, I will be a loyal follower of your page from here on out!!

  107. Mindi on said:

    This is something that I have been meaning to do for along time. I am going to purchase a safe this week and pull together a binder.

  108. Rachel on said:

    I actually pinned this info by you a long time ago and just haven’t gotten around to putting it all together but there’s not better time then the present! I’d never thought of having an old and current family picture in your folder to prove a lasting relationship, I will make sure to include that! Thank you again for all you do and share!

  109. Rosalyn on said:

    This week was the original reason I was brought to your website – so amazing! My husband normally handles all of our financial stuff, so it was even a good exercise for me to go through papers and deeds to see where all of our assets are. We’ve recently had a baby, so I’ll for sure be working on his Child ID kit this week.

  110. Sandra on said:

    I love your advise and I always come away with something i hadn’t thought of BUT….until March 7th my world was pretty normal. Now, by hubby has had a stroke. It is doubtful that he will ever return to work, and maybe not to our home. If he does come home there are so many things that will be different not the least of which is our “escape plan” Any thought or advise? anyone else in the same boat?

    thanks for listening

    • Wow Sandra! We moved houses and were without internet so I’m just now getting this. I am so sorry to hear of your trials / struggles. I will keep you in my prayers

  111. Heather on said:

    First of all wow! Hats off to your organization! I have to say I feel pretty good each week with only minor things we need to add. Then I read this one. Um yeah we are way behind in this area. Thanks so much for all the PDF files. I do have a binder in the kit but honestly it’s the army survival manual for kind of a last resort reference. Starting tomorrow I’ll be adding my own tabs in there. Great ideas and how to’s.

  112. Erica on said:

    This is actually the post that led me to your website, via pintrest. I made my own version of these info sheets… and then never printed them off! So that’s what I’ll be doing this week. I don’t think it will ever be something that I carry with me everywhere, especially since we don’t have kids yet.

  113. Brett Galloway on said:

    For some reason my comment isn’t posting! This is a great idea! I will definitely start a binder with all of our important papers! Thanks for posting about this!

  114. Brett Galloway on said:

    I think this is a great idea. I will definitely start a binder with our important papers! Thank you!

  115. I am a relatively new subscriber and I will be making a binder. My kids are grown and I still think it is importatn to keep their info, especially as they go through college and marriage and moving. Not to mention all mine and my husband’s info in a place where I can remember it

  116. Bonnie on said:

    This is one area that I am completely and totally lacking, so these ideas are great. I think I will give a family member copies of the pictures, fingerprints and medical information to keep as well, but not banking, SSN or other sensitive information. If something happens to one of us while the other is out of town, or if something happens to both of us at the same time, the information is available to a family member. I love the PDFs, it will make things so much easier. You are so organized – wish I could find a way to transplant some of that to me!

  117. crystal malone on said:

    Very awesome planning. I will try and implement some of these great ideas. Thank you

  118. May Glenn on said:

    Many of my family members came here in 2005 unprepared because they truly believed everything would be alright. They lost their homes and information that took weeks and more to obtain.

    I tried to print off your information – perhaps I’m doing something wrong. I just had eye surgery and may not be seeing something that I should.

    God Bless you both for sharing your ideas.


  119. Patricia O on said:

    I just found your site through Pinterest and am thrilled that the lists are there.
    Thank you

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  121. Andrea S. on said:

    Thank you so much for providing all of this! We spent a number of evenings in our basement last year due to tornado warnings and I realized that if we were hit, I didn’t have our important information together. Worse, I realized that I wasn’t sure where everything even was. So, I’m putting a binder together and will keep it close.

  122. Julie on said:

    Love all the info! Keep it comming!

  123. sclindah on said:

    Another thing you may want to add would be pictures of every room of your home. In case of a fire, you would need to list or show some of the home items you have lost and having photos would help remind you of your contents to list.

  124. just started on your website…it is great. i going to start my kit today.

  125. I think this is a great idea, simplified and straightforward! (Strangely, I just had a dream last night about getting out because of a house fire, so this is fresh on my mind. My biggest concern are my pets, but this will make ‘everything else’ so much easier.)

  126. Michele on said:

    I absolutely love this post! I’ve told some of my family and friends about these wonderful ideas because we live in a different world anymore and need and should be more prepared for any kind of situation. Thank you vey much! Sincerely, Michele

  127. Great idea as an insurance adjuster, I wish more people were this prepared. Do recommend a very good well secured, fire safe. Better organized than my method will be using this info. Thanks!

  128. Janet Smith on said:

    Love your site. I have already started the folder on important docs. I have included information for my adult children about our financial investments and the investor we use.

  129. Thanks for the post. We keep important info in the same place, but a binder would make it so much easier! It’s a “Why didn’t I think of that” moment.

  130. Michelle on said:

    We survived an f4 tornado in Athens,AL (4.27.11)! I gathered many of these docs after into a binder and will now use your tips to better organize it! Staples uses LARGE size ziplock bags when working on laptops. I asked to buy mine and keep my binder waterproof inside our safe!

    • That’s a really good idea! Definitely don’t want to spend all that time getting this all together only to have it ruined by water!

  131. In case you suspect a gas leak, do not use your phone (cell or land line) in your house. DO NOT flip any switches. Sparks and/or electrical activity can cause ignition of gas. Go to the outside to make your call to the gas company.

  132. Sharon Mccright on said:

    I was very impressed with some of your ideas. Thank you so much!

  133. Kellie stevens on said:

    I have needed this a few times over the years. Just about the time you think you will remember where you put that social security card or birth certificate well I know I had it somewhere. Thank you for putting this all together! I lost my son at the mall once while I was away at my brothers wedding. He was 3 at the time. I could not imagine this happening to me as I was an over protective mom. Well it did. When security arrived I could not think of the most basic information. So the need for things like this is very true. Security found him a half hour later unharmed and I was overjoyed but it made me realize how important it is to keep everything and everyone safe.. Thanks again, kellie

  134. Just found your website via pinterest, and I LOVE the printable worksheets. As a caregiver of 3 (mother, husband, 1yr old son) I have always wanted a easy way to organize our emergency kit, but always seem overwhelmed and unable to sit up late after everyone is asleep to make every single worksheet. I am also a little OCD so I spend WAY too much time on one thing trying to get it perfect (I’m getting better at it now though, but I’m still pretty bad!). My husband has a short term memory issue, and my mother has major anxiety and depression issues so I wasn’t sure what else to add to our emergency folder. Could it possibly be too full of information. For example I also wanted to add our possession inventory serial numbers, receipts, warranties, and such to the notebook for rental insurance claims for any future disaster/emergencies. I also wanted a interesting/neat way to organize our family’s shot records and basic medical records within a “easy-to-grab” notebook for emergencies, but sometimes seem impossible with my husband’s (box full military medical records). I was hoping that making a list of important diagnosis, with doctors 411, dates, locations and reasons (ie: combat related prognosis) would work but also was nervous that it wouldn’t consist of enough information, what do you think??

  135. Rosemarie on said:

    Awesome!! I’m making mine now! Thank you!!!

  136. I love this idea. My mother is retiring this year and getting on in age. What a great idea to give her as a retirement gift. This will put her mind at ease having all of this information together before they begin their life of travel and retirement. Thanks again.

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  138. This is great! I love how you have everything organized. I have one suggestion: I am a certified DNA collector, and if you want to keep a good DNA sample of your child, a few strands of hair isn’t good unless you have quite a few with the root ball from the scalp still attached. Instead of ripping hairs out of your child’s scalp (lol!), use cotton swabs, one for each cheek, and swab the inside of your child’s mouth. Make sure they haven’t had any milk products for the last two hours and, if they’re old enough, have them swish with some room temp water and spit. Wear a pair of gloves so you don’t get your own DNA on the swab and rub the swab on the inside of the cheek for at least 30 seconds. Then let the swabs air dry and put them in a PAPER envelope (plastic baggies promote mold growth) labeled with the child’s information. If you’re doing more than one child, make sure you change gloves in between. I’ve poked holes in the bottom of styrofoam cups and inverted them to have something to stick my air drying swabs in. If it looks like there are wet spots on the envelope after you put the swabs in, that’s just fine; it’ll dry. Remember, it’s not the saliva you want, it’s the epithelial cells. I tell my kids to “swallow, swallow, swallow that spit!” before I swab lol. I find that telling kids cool, sciencey facts about DNA while you’re doing this makes the process seem fun and not scary. And, babies will cry, but it’s a good thing because it means thier mouth is open! Put a finger on the outside of their cheek so you can feel that the swab is rubbing on the inside of the cheek. Remember, you want cheek, not tongue or saliva! This sample can keep for a very long time, and is extremely effective in a DNA test. Hope this is helpful!

  139. Marnie on said:

    I know folks talk about the risks of having all these documents in one place but I think the benefits FAR outweigh the risks. I found this link via Pinterest and I am doing a binder like this for our family this weekend. We live on the NJ Shore and were mandated to evacuate our home prior to Sandy. We knew the evacuation order was coming so we gathered up our then 5 year-old twins and 3 years old son and headed for our in-laws outside of Philadelphia. In the hours before we left I FRANTICALLY searched for birth certificates and other important documents to take with us. And I consider myself to be a fairly organized person (everything in file cabinets, etc…). Had I had one of these binders I could have spent more time saving photos and other precious memories :-( This is a great idea! Thanks for the templates as well!!!

  140. Let me tell you! I have used your printables and I love them! Everything is secure and more easy to find!, I really love this tutorial Thanks!

  141. Gretchen on said:

    Great post! Form experience I would like to add that you MUST put this binder somewhere you can get it if you have a fire, or otherwise need to leave your home and not come back.

    Let me be clear … YOU WILL NOT GRAB ANYTHING on your way out of a house that is on fire, except your children. You will be completely taken over by your survival instinct! This happened to me a few months ago, and we ran out with literally the clothes on our backs (except my son, who was in shower, and had only a towel in his possession). Our bug-outs bags were smoke damaged along with everything else, and sitting in the closet next to the front door.

    So I would recommend making copies and leaving them with a close family member or trusted friend just in case. We were fortunate – our photos and other legal documents were not damaged, but a few minutes more and we would not have even been able to call the insurance company.

    • This may sound a little obsessive but we keep a “NEEDS buggout bag in our car”
      for instance, our “shoes on our feet” step in our evacuation plan are flip flops (we have an extra pair of tennis shoes and socks in the car) this also helps if you are stranded on the side of a road (as a woman) and you just left work and wearing heels; it could help if you needed to walk a long distance or run away from potiental “crazies”….lol. Its sad BUT true. Other things that are in our NEEDS list also include:
      baby wipes, wipes, batteries, flashlight, basic tools, 1 outfit per person (3), powder, dog leashes (4), 72 hr snack/food/water supply (for humans and pets in our life), razers, matches, survival blankets, etc.
      I have a smaller Suv and a ford focus only 1 child so this will be harder for multiple children but there are a few creative ways to save space depending on the amount of stuff you need. For example: I use a large rolling duffle style bag (has a sturdy frame to keep pretty open inside it) and it holds almost everything as well as keeping more space available for groceries and other stuff in the trunk/back, anything else we use a cheap (dollar store) door hung shoe organizer on the back of the back seat (we cut it in two and sewn/glued hangers on them to hang flush against the seats)……. long story short it makes it a little easier for emergencies because the first thing is always life everything is always second nature in those situations. We also make extra copies of our favorite pictures and distribute to other family members like 3 copies to 3 different people so you KNOW you can always get them. Hope this can help a little next time.

  142. Sarah Ward on said:

    I have never even thought about having a binder like this! I think it is a such great idea and I am going to look into getting one started!

  143. Thank you so much for this. This is something that has been on my mind for a while and I just wasn’t sure were to start. I definitely plan on going through the whole series. Thanks again. :-)

  144. Can I simply say what a relief to find an individual
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  145. Krystyna on said:

    When I was a kid, my mom made these short two-minute videos of each us standing in front of a measuring tape to record height, turning to each side for profile views, and then facing the camera and saying our full name, age, birthday and favorite things just in case we ever got lost/kidnapped. The police came to one of my sibling’s kindergarten classes when someone in the area was abducted and did them for all the kids and my mom kept it going every six months/year or whenever she thought of it just in case. You could do those with your kids then burn it to a DVD to add to their identity pages. Even if nothing bad ever happens it’s a great way to document the kids’ growth and see them at each age later on!

  146. gina ogle on said:

    I ha’ve a single metal letter size file draw with important paper, family documents, husbands military info etc. I thoughts I was organized until I saw this. I knew I could pick up the file draw and take it with me, I don’t have family photos in it. I will be working on this.

  147. One thing to add to your list is a current utility bill. In a state of emergency you have to prove you live where you live. In the state of Florida, your driver’s license isn’t enough. You have to have a current utility bill with YOUR name and address on it to enter the area. I update the bills every other month or so.

    I also have several hundred dollars in ones and fives. With no power, credit card readers don’t work.

    I’ve had all of the above [+ the bill] in a grab and go bag. Very well hidden :)

  148. wow i just found this site via pinterest i never even thought about documents and unless you count comp books don’t really keep track of phone numbers that kinda scares me so defiantly going to make some changes thank you for this site

  149. hi! i found your templates shared on pinterest and want to say thank you! the forms were easy to use and gave me a great place to start to get my family’s info together. i have just completed our emergency folder, thanks a lot to your forms!!! definitely appreciate you!
    ~the only other thing i did was add everyone’s blood type on each page of our ID kit ;0)

  150. Janie Gray on said:

    Love it! Never thought of a child ID folder, and will have to do this. I keep all my kids important information but not like this. I think this should win an award. :)

    *Also, if they are worried about this info being stolen, they could get a safety deposit box. I actually have two, one at two different banks plus a safe. I take care of my Mom, so I try to keep all our important files separate but readily available, (hence the reason for two).

    I wish we had actually done a survival fund, and am definitely going to now. In 2012 we had two major storms, one in the summer (hot hot hot) and one in the winter. Having to afford the extra costs of gasoline to run a generator can get expensive.

    Best idea ever and so glad you shared this with all of us. Thank you.

  151. Caprice on said:

    I have something similar to yours for when my husband deploys but I have a section for all of my power of attorneys and such. Great job!!

  152. Kristi on said:

    Love this idea!
    I would modify by putting phone numbers and information in a notebook, but then put social security cards, and other more sensitive information in another notebook. The sensitive information would then be stored in my lock box at the bank.
    Just a suggestion.
    Great idea! Thank you!

  153. Wow, this series is amazing and I LOVE the notebook. Yes, there are risks, there are always risks, and if someone wants to get your info, they will find a way. But personally, I like this idea…. if for nothing else, but for the child ID kits. They alone, make this priceless. People can add or detract what they feel comfortable with.

    My hubby and I have been wanting to get a survival kit together and I’ve been meaning to get a notebook together like this for quite a while, but it’s just so overwhelming. Your series makes it look much more manageable. Thank you so much!! I will definitely be working on this. And it falls in with my project 365 this year that I’m trying to do. If you don’t mind, I’ll be linking back to your site in a few of my posts. :o)

  154. Heather on said:

    I love love love your blog. I have a very similar notebook. I also have a disc of all my photos from my computer if I cannot get to it in time. You probably have MozyPro or something but what if a big disaster also took out their servers?

  155. I’ve had one of these for many years. My oldest is now 25 years old and it’s in pieces due to me taking SS cards out and shot records, but I STILL have all of my kids shot records and birth certs where I can find them, and I have 7 kids. Might suggest adding a page for w2’s by year, and tax returns filed as they get older. I end up doing most everybodies and keeping that info on file here. As for the risk. We’ve never been robbed (knock on wood). You’d have to work hard to figure out whose home when, but I doubt that someone would even think to look for something like this. Put it in a bookshelf marked recipes or something. LOL

  156. Ariel Montero on said:

    I’ve been talking about doing this for months and its time to get the ball rolling. Thanks!

  157. Denise on said:

    I just read this on Pinterest and I think this is a very good idea. Because it seems u can never find it when u need it. Thanks for the suggestion. I’m going to try and gather all this stuff up so I can make one. I have 3 children and it will make it easier if anything would happen to any of us. I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing. Have a gd day! Denise from Virginia

  158. I have something very similar to this for my husband and I. Though, I have to suggest one add on even though this is fantastic. I store 3 months worth of past electricity and water bills in our “grab and go” box. During Katrina I lost everything and it was much easier to start anew when I could prove that I was from the disaster area.

  159. Great information! So glad I pinned the link of Pinterest! I had a similar folder for our most recent move, but now I can revamp it for our emergency kit! Thank you so much~ I already signed up for your email list… you are amazing!

  160. Terri Rykard on said:

    It’s a great idea for many reasons and I am starting my binder tomorrow!!!

  161. Stellabella on said:

    Hi Misti, Thanks for all the great information. After I am finished with my binder I will take this information to my mother to get her organized. She always seems to misplace something when we have to evacuate. Having been part of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, having a copy of your last years income tax was very beneficial in getting federal aid to hold you over until the insurance agent was back on line or in town. Just a thought.

  162. I love the idea of having everything in one place (or hidden but easily accessible… whatevs!) for when you really need it. My mother always had a plastic envelope with all our information and took it to the doctors’ or school registrations. I have a smaller one that came in handy when I moved out of state and had to get a new drivers license. I’d love to expand it like yours; you have a ton of stuff I (a twenty-something) never would have thought about.

    But one suggestion: Extra phone/gadget chargers. Slip them in a pocket of the binder or something. With our high-tech stuff a phone is so much more. And what would be worse than having to get in touch with somebody immediately and your phone is dead? Just a thought…

    Excellent blog. =]

    • Thanks Kim. I have a bunch of extra chargers, but none in this binders….good idea!

      An sorry for the delayed response. We’ve been sick around here and I’ve just been doing the bare minimum.

  163. Dana Stokes on said:

    I think your kit is a great idea. Your pages are well designed and complete. As you said, if someone is not comfortable having this information all in one place, then by all means, just don’t make one. Personally, all my info is already in one place, but not as organized as you have it here. Most people with a safe or file cabinet have their information in one place already, too. I would like to add a suggestion for you though – take everything in your wallet (i.e. driver license, health insurance card, credit card, debit card) and place it on a copy machine. Make a copy of both the front sides and the back sides. In the event that your purse/wallet is ever stolen, you will have the information you need to cancel everything. Thanks again for the ideas, and file downloads to get my family’s info more organized!

    • That is a fabulous idea Dana! I had heard something similar before a recent
      international trip. Great idea!

      Sorry for the delayed response. We’ve been sick around here and I’ve just been doing the bare minimum.

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  165. People are suggesting what….that you should keep all of these documents scattered all over everywhere so you have to scrounge to find them if/when you need them? I don’t get it. We’ve always kept ours together – ‘though they aren’t all together, and I am definitely coming back to this post (when it’s not almost midnight) to get started on this!

    I also think it might not be a bad idea to scan copies of all of the important documents (and maybe some prized family photos), so they can easily be stored on a thumb drive – this would take up very little space, but provide a backup you can store elsewhere in case of a natural disaster.

  166. Julie Lachance on said:

    Félicitation pour votre site, c’est très bien construit. C’est une superbe idée que de faire cela Bravo
    En passant, je vous ai trouvé par Pinterest
    Je suis du Québec
    Merci Julie Lachance

  167. Rachel Ray on said:

    What a great idea! Love being prepared! Excited to begin mine!! Thanks! Yours looks so organized!

  168. Rachel Ray on said:

    What a great idea! Love being prepared! Excited to begin mine!! Thanks! Yours looks so organized!

  169. Love the great ideas that you have, I will be working on implementation soon.

  170. Mikel Sansaver on said:

    I love this! Thanks so much for the break down!

  171. I am so thankful that you have thought all of this through & have presented it in such an easy way. I can think of a few reasons of importance for having this binder created, but here are just 2:
    1. I am the keeper & know-it-all in our house. I am not bragging, I just have been given the job it seems. :) So whenever my kids or husband need to know where something is, I am their go to person.
    2. I have been helping my Granny get important things in order now that Papa has alzheimers. So this will help me to help her more efficeintly.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to do all this & sharing it with others.
    In Happiness & Health,
    Constance Sussman

  172. Angela Bromaghim on said:

    Thank You! I love the idea of your survival kit. yes there are risk, but I will take that risk and make our family a kit, when things are stressful we need to be as organized as possible. This sounds like it will help us out allot. thanks again!

  173. Kristin on said:

    I love this. I am a single mom with 3 children and every time my boys visit their grandparents, I have my binder handy. Personally, I think this is the smartest thing I’ve seen in a long time when it comes to family organization. It makes you think and realize that even having these small kits handy are important. Anything can happen. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  174. I love this ties, I have a binder somewhat like this but I realize that I am missing some things in it too, like child and adult ID kits, important numbers, and an evacuation plan. The other thing I realize is that I haven’t exactly “hidden” it well. I plan to get a fireproof safe or something like that, hopefully that will be the best place for it.

  175. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Do not store your personal information in online storage. I work in information security and I felt compelled to post here to make sure that you move your data and that anyone that reads this DOES NOT store any kind of account or passwords in the cloudonline.
    It is a great idea to keep backups and all the advice and instructions on this post are excellent…except that one little line: “I do not save this anywhere on my computer though I do store it in a secure online database.” There is no such thing as a secure online database yet. Your data is much safer stored on an waterproof encrypted flash drive and stored in a safe. NEVER store your account and password data online.

    • Thanks for the obvious and sincere concern Alison. Can you give me more details as to why this is such a concern for you? I know you work in information security. I’ve researched a few different companies which seem to be very secure. I’ve never heard of anyone having an issue (which doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened). What, in your opinion is the real concern? Thanks!

      • There are a lot of articles out there that do a much better job than I can explaining what the dangers are. Without getting too technical or detailed, people use cloud storage as if it is secure and accessable only to themselves, which is isn’t.
        The agreements you sign when storing data allows the company to use, search and potentially delete your data without notification or warning to the user. The govermenet has the right to search and use any data that is stored in the cloud due to anti-terrorism and cyber attack laws.
        If you want to store your data in the cloud there are some steps you can take to keep yourself safe. Always keep a backup of your data outside of the cloud. Never post data that contains your acount informaiton, passwords, social security numbers or images of your government issues IDs. I’ve also posted a links to articlaes that will do a much better job of explaining why your data isn’t safe in the cloud.
        Please keep in mind that the cloud insecurity also extends to your email, whihc is not secure and can be accessed and hacked even more easily than cloud data storage. Just because it is new, cool and cheap doesn’t make it secure or a good idea. The technoology is new and there is currently very little regulation and almost no certification for the level of security these services have to offer their customer.




  176. Ellen Caldwell on said:

    OMG! I’m so behind! Your website is amazing! I’ve dreamt about a flood the last two nights. First on my list is to get my mother & dog a life vest (maybe I’ll sleep better) and start my notebook! Thank You For All Your Hard Work!!

  177. Stephanie on said:

    Thanks for this post! It is helping me get started on this when I know I should have done it long ago. I am curious about the hiding place in the car. I am also thinking it would be good to have one at home as well as our main car, but I don’t know where a good place to hide it in the car. Please advise! :)
    Thanks again!

  178. These are excellent docs! I’m preparing a binder for each family member full of information to put in emergency backpacks. My mother was just recently hospitalized and we had to do an impromptu “contract” so I could take care of my minor brother for her. Having all his information and an official guardianship form in place will be such a big help if it happens again, and the same for in case my husband or I have an emergency of some sort.

    Also, kudos for including the pet ID kit!

  179. This is awesome! I can’t wait to make one. I was just realizing that our important info is in a file folder that can easily fall out if we take it anywhere. And I Love the kids fingerprints idea. I never thought of doing it myself, but wondered how to get them done. Fabulous! Thanks!

  180. Love this! We are always trying to better our emergency kits. This is such a well organized idea. We have all of these documents together but not in one place. Can’t wait to see more of your ideas!

  181. Maggie H on said:

    I have had something like this for years. We are a military family and do tons of moving over the last 19 yrs. This come in handy so we do not leave any Important Documents with the movers. Also New Year’s Eve 2009 our military community got hit with a Toronto. We did have some damage to the house and was lucky we did not lose the house like some of our neighborhood friends. For the safety of the community we had to leave for a couple of days. All I had to do was grab the “Binder” and go.

  182. Elizabeth McKee on said:

    I love love love this idea. Very smart, in this day and age (in my opinion) to have all this information in one central place. This will most definitely be my next project! Thanks :)

  183. As a trauma RN I see alot of families of trauma victims who dont even know where to begin as far as notifying bosses about the trauma & getting their lived ones bills, rent paid monthly, it becomes an added stressor in an already difficult time. I think this binder is a great idea, I will also add Health care proxy info & my living will, last wishes etc. :)

  184. Mary Beth on said:

    I keep a list of my medications with dosages, allergies, Doctors with phone numbers, previous surgeries with dates. My husband has a copy and I keep one on a folded sheet of paper behind my license in my wallet. It comes in handy for Dr. Appts or emergency room visits.

  185. Jennette Karasti on said:

    I love this idea! My husband is in the Military, and I’ve never even heard of this before. I am definitely gonna go through our important papers and get this binder started. =D Thank you!

  186. I think this is amazing and if people have problems with it well, that’s their problem. I know so many people in natural disasters who would have really benefited from this. As for fear of it all being in the same place, lets be honest, most people already keep everything loosely crammed into a fire/waterproof safe anyway. So I see no harm in having it in an organized folder. Whether it’s inside the safe, or wherever you choose to store your important documentation.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  187. Kathy Hooper on said:

    The only thing I would add to this is pictures of every room of the contents to encl. jewelry, silver, etc from the cheapest to the most expensive and keep a CD or memory card in the event of a natural disaster so that it can be provided to the insurance company for replacement costs. This is very important because you will not be able to remember everything that you have of value.

  188. Ashley Rodrigue on said:

    I found this blog very interesting! Such great tips!! I plan in starting my binders this week! Thanks for the inspiration!!!!

  189. I think this is a great idea I’m always looking for my kids insurance and shot record always missplacing it this will work great for me thanks for the great idea!!!

  190. I like this idea, but perhaps a binder is too big? Could you not use a 5×7 or 4×6 photo album, and just use several pages per person, and then fold other important documents (wills, titles, etc) to fit? It just seems that the binder would be too big and bulky to fit in a backpack, or at least be too cumbersome. But then again, you would not suggest it, if it did/does not work for you. Again, thanks for the many great ideas!

  191. Mistie Woodruff-Mckinzie on said:

    This has always been a concern and i have to say what a neat and funcable way to keep everything in order. Awesome job thank you.

  192. Thoughtful Mother on said:

    Thanks for writing this, and for including the pictures. The pictures made it much easier to see what you were talking about, and I know it is personal stuff so I appreciate you sharing it. The pictures also helped me envision what I will do with my documents.

    Really great series.

  193. Elizabeth Saunders on said:

    wow. I just found this site. Really good advice so far. Interested in reading more.

  194. cynthia on said:

    Hi. I love your idea and am going to make one of these for my family. After watching the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, it’s a little bit silly for anyone to be scoffing at what you have come up with here. I suggest everyone make one of these and I’d be willing to bet there are a lot of people on the east coast who wish they had one of these right about now. Thank you for sharing!

  195. Jon Walker on said:

    This is a fantastic post. I really appreciate the downloadable PDF’s. My wife and I have been talking about making binder like this for years but never actually did it. In fact a lot of the pieces that would be good here – we don’t even have (ie. copies of social security cards, etc..). We’ve been lazy in tracking down hard copies of these things.

    Sure it would be very dangerous in the hands of someone but a lot of us have gun safes and if not I’m sure there are places in the house to safely and securely hide something like this where it would be extremely difficult for a robber to locate.

    Thanks for the ideas!

  196. Shannon on said:

    Will definitely be doing this!

  197. Thanks, Lots of info I am bookmarking this page

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  199. Your ideas and posts are amazing! Just one thing, I just found this and where do I start?!?

    • Welcome to the site Julie! There is a link to week #1 at the bottom of the post. You can also find it here: http://www.yourownhomestore.com/survival-kit-ideas-week-by-week/

      And sorry my response was so delayed. I was in Costa Rica for a week and I’m just now getting caught up!

  200. Sherri on said:

    Hi Misty,
    I just discovered your blog via Pinterest, and am so pleased to have done so! I live in Perth, West Australia, and there is a real attitude of complacency here. I recently discovered “Lifestraws” and had a conversation with friends who thought I was nuts for thinking about this stuff and wanting to get hold of several to stash in my car, home and handbag/backpack. The comment was “and when are you ever going to need to live for three days like that?” My friend was shocked when I pointed out the devastation of the recent Margaret River bushfires where 38 homes were destroyed and people were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the kindness of strangers. She was stunned, but understood why I am worried. Thank you for this blog, I don’t feel so lonesome anymore! The posts are simple and cover all bases, I now have a guide to base my own prep off of, Thanks again, Sherri :)

    • I’m glad to have you here. Keep sharing your stories and perspective!

      And sorry my response was so delayed. I was in Costa Rica for a week and I’m just now getting caught up!

  201. My sister recently recommended your site to me and I love it. I am a big fan of an emergency binder and have one myself. I have a few suggestions to pass on:
    (1) consider using zip-up binders. This keeps your papers doubly safe in the event you drop the thing, a page comes loose or whatever. They’re easy to find (Google “zip-up binder”) and only cost $10-20. (2) While it doesn’t apply to all your readers, it is worth mentioning that every veteran should have a copy of their discharge papers (DD-214) as this is key to obtaining VA benefits like home loans, medical, burial, education, etc. (3) Another comment mentioned creating a generic power of attorney that anyone possessing the binder could use for the children’s medical care. While I like the power of attorney idea, May I suggest that it be specific to the caregiver? If a caregiver isn’t worthy of the effort it takes to get a customized form, then you may want to reconsider giving them that kind of authority over your children. For occasional sitters you don’t have a form for, remember that emergency care is provided in the US regardless and should be sufficient until you can be contacted. Finally, it can’t hurt to have your power of attorney be written/checked by a lawyer to ensure it will have the legal effect that you intend. Thanks again for the great site and ideas–keep it up!

    • Great ideas Ryan! I will add many next time I get to this week in the series! Fabulous!

      And sorry my response was so delayed. I was in Costa Rica for a week and I’m just now getting caught up!

  202. Alisha on said:

    This is a great site! I wish I’d found this earlier. I’ve been wanting to set up a well stocked emergency kit and have already started my own information folder. Thanks for the info.

  203. Darcy Elizalde on said:

    I have never thought about this and think its a great idea. As I read thru this I had the idea to photo copy all the pages once done and giving copies to my parents and sister with the info on where my book is in case of that emergency. Thank you for this info I will be making this up very soon.

    • You are welcome Darcy! Glad you found it helpful!

      And sorry my response was so delayed. I was in Costa Rica for a week and I’m just now getting caught up!

  204. Carolyn Wyatt on said:

    I just found your website as I was searching for information to teach a class. This information is wonderful!!!! Very helpful!!. So happy to be able to share this site with others. Thank You!!

  205. I’m filling out the info sheet for our family and I am adding something: Cross Streets. Thank you for all the info. I am very excited to get it all together in one place.

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  207. Paul Cubbage on said:

    In “Important Phone Numbers Template” you have a typo:
    “Plummer” should be “Plumber” Plummer is a proper name. Plumer comes from Latin plumbum or lead. Until the last century, plumbing was done with oakum and hot lead.


  208. I have made a similar version to this folder, but I really like your idea of printing fingerprints of your children and yourself. I will have to add that in my binder, I also like your pet ID page better than the one I have…

    I will have to add that I am so glad I made mine when I did,
    I got sick in July, Hubby needed to take me to the hospital, and I always told him that if anything happened to me to take the “Family Binder” with all of our information, While I was in the hospital, I was drugged up and thus, and thus, couldn’t recall my social security number and didn’t know my insurance card information, none of that was a problem because he had it all in the binder.

    Found your blog through pinterest =]


    • Yay! Love stories where such a folder came in handy (not that I’m glad you were in the hospital though!) Thanks for sharing!

      And sorry my response was so delayed. I was in Costa Rica for a week and I’m just now getting caught up!

  209. I think your site is wonderful. I’m so sorry that some posters were unkind. I’m always trying to do as much as I can to safeguard my family for whatever is in store for us. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and for sharing it with us. God Bless.

  210. Laurie on said:

    Thanks for all the great ideas….a wild fire caused an emergency evacuation for us at 2 a.m. a couple of years ago. It wasn’t pretty :-(
    I have been working on compiling a grab and go box since then…I love your binder idea. Much more user friendly than a box full of files. I will get started on it today! Thank you for the wonderful ideas.

  211. first time i came across your site. love this, lots of great ideas for preparation. thank you for carrying enough to share!

  212. Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] What if you had less than 15 minutes to leave your home?

  213. Thanks for all the info! I’m wondering if you could share what type of “secure website” you used to store documents online. Thanks!

  214. I just visited your blog thanks to pinterest. This is such a great idea. I plan on getting started asap. I’m thinking I may even do a mini version of just the kiddos info for the car (in case of accident, who to contact, ect.) Thanks so much for sharing!

  215. I checked out the Pet ID Kit, and noticed that it had a check box for the pet having a chip or not, however, there is no place to write the number down. Obviously, one could write it in the margin, but I thought I would just point that out since the numbers are usually just as long as a credit card. You will also want a place to mark down your microchip carrier (Home Again, Avid, etc).


    Mom to 5 dogs and a cat.

    • I didn’t create that one and know very little about pets, so I really appreciate the feedback. It will probably take me a week or two, but I will fix that!

  216. Pamela Burchfield on said:

    This is so great. I have a binder I call my Oh crap..Hurricane a-coming binder but it is nothing compared to this..Gonna start working on updating mine now so it will be ready for Hurricane season next year. Living on the SE Texas coast we’ve gotta be prepared to leave anytime. Thanks for sharing this

  217. melinie on said:

    I am so excited to get started on this. I think its important to have this kind of organization not only for emergencies but also for my husband if something were to happen to me he would have everything he needs to take care of the family.

  218. Jennifer Davis on said:

    Wow…what a smart and useful idea! Right now all of my important documents are scattered into several locations, but it would be great to condense everything into one very useful and easy to access book. I will definitely be doing this!

  219. Speaking of passwords… I am desperate to have a single place that has all my passwords with space to note the changes that were made as required by some sites. Your idea has me started in that direction. Thanks for all you do!

  220. Pam Jordan on said:

    Pam Jordan
    I keep my important document binder in the FREEZER in a jumbo zip-loc bag. Keeps it safe from fire, it is heavy (we have been through hurricanes and tornadoes), and unless a thief is REALLY hungry, he is probably not going to look there! Thank you for all your well-thought-out work on this subject. You have provided us with the information and it is up to us to use it wisely. Thanks again.

  221. Monica D on said:

    I love this kit info! What great idea and I can’t wait to start! Thanks for the tips!

  222. Very helpful website! I haven’t reviewed everything you have or all the comments; a friend just showed me your evacuation plan template. One thought though: the majority of the time, it will probably just be me evacuating our family (3 kids, ages 5, 3, 0), since my husband is gone to work and I am the mom at home. I am going to modify the template to have a plan for just one adult evacuating the kids, and one for two adults evacuating the kids. It is also a good idea to post these by the door, so that if neighbors are there to help, they can refer to it too. Also, you could put the kids’ assignments on the plan too, with pictures for those who can’t read.

  223. Taylor on said:

    In regards to the Pet ID Kit, especially for dogs (I’m not sure about cats) I would also suggest an up-close, very clear picture of the dog’s nose. Nose prints on dogs are as unique as finger prints on humans. This can be especially useful if your dog doesn’t have any distinct markings and/or is not micro-chipped or tattooed.

  224. I Have been searching for a site like this for ages, THANK YOU!!!!

    This will definitely help with a lot!

    Really I cant thank you enough.

    Much Love and Light

  225. I love this. In my opinion any responsible adult (especially the Chief Operating Officer of the Home) should have this info in one place. Mine is in an unmarked binder among other binders. My kids, husband and mother know where it is. Think of the work you’d leave behind if you died and no one knew where to find this info. Instead of whole documents I have account numbers and contact info so my survivor would know who to call about insurance, the phone bill, rent, my paypal account, etc. It doesn’t take long to put together. Thanks for the post, MIsty.

  226. Wow! This is amazing. What a great idea! I don’t have one, but I am going to make one. Thanks for all the printouts. :)

  227. I will be making a family binder for my family. I think it is a very smart idea because in an emergency most people don’t handle the stress well enough to be completely in control. I want to thank you for helping people get all their documents together in an organized manner.

  228. I just found you through a post on Pinterest. I absolutely love your ideas about the binder. I will definitely make one soon. Thank you very much.

  229. OMG! I had been putting ‘extra’ stuff back each week in case of whatever…. What do you do when you go to a smaller house with NO storage? All of a sudden we have lots of ‘stuff’ and no where to put it. I have not been to grocery store except for milk and other quickly disposables since the first of September (when we moved) My gut is telling me to use everything up before buying anything again. Any suggestions??

    Recently moved to smaller retirement oasis on 2 acres…
    http: www.TShirtQuiltsTX.com

  230. Thank you so much for this. I’m completely inspired.

    After reading some of the concerns posted by other readers, I wondered what you thought of keeping only copies of things like credit cards, Social Security cards, insurance documents, etc., in the binder, while keeping the originals in a safe deposit box or something.

    Again, thanks so much!

    • I think that could work! Everyone will need to tweak this to their own situation. Just make sure you could access teh safe deposit box in a true emergency!

  231. Keshelia Calcote on said:

    I came across this info via Pinterest and I just want to say THANKS, especially for the information about the risk. I was thinking about that as I read through your blog but you basically made it clear … I agree, the thought of not having something like this far outweighs any other potential risks.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  232. Jen Hydrick on said:

    Working on ours right now! My husband is so excited. His goal this year is to be “prepared” so when I found you on Pinterest he was all for it! Do you have the Important numbers form available so we can add our information to it. I’m not able to edit in the PDF…just curious, Thanks for sharing!!

    • Sorry for the delayed response. SOmehow, I missed this comment. If you have the most recent version of Word, you should be able to download that and edit it.

  233. Ellen Hotchkiss on said:

    I love your ideas. I can’t imagine what anyone would have to say that would be mean. I am forever trying to be more organized and I will use many of your ideas. Thank you, Ellen

  234. Synthia Taylor on said:

    Great ideas! I began years ago keeping important information in a binder, so I have a fair amount of it handy already, but you raised some concern when I realized how unprepared I still really was….never thought of my binder as an emergency tool. I’m geared up to put in those additions. Thank you for all the help! I will be going through what I already have and modifying it to meet more of an emergency need. Awesome ideas!

  235. I love this idea! A note on the fingerprinting – doing your own fingerprints at home can sometimes be difficult because of smudging, etc. Another option is to get a fingerprint card taken at any local police station/sheriff’s office. It’s free at my local police station, but sometimes they charge a small fee. You just need to take a photo ID with you when you go.

    And don’t worry, people have to get official fingerprint cards done for lots of reasons (professional licenses, working in childcare, firearms permits, etc), not just because they’re being arrested! :)

  236. Jennifer on said:

    I’m so excited to try this. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but have been too overwhelmed to start. One thing a week, though, I can handle that!

    Thank you!

  237. Liked your page. Now I need to start organizing my documents. Thanks

  238. Andrea Kindle on said:

    What a great way to get organized for an emergency, God forbid. I have wanted to start getting things in order in case something happened or in case something happened to me during a surgery or a car accident as my husband does not handle the bills, etc and would be totally lost on where to find things if I was not around. So this site really puts things together and gives me a place to start from as it can be a little overwhelming to try to think of everything that could be needed. Like the picture of your family in case you have to prove you are related. Totally may be the difference of being able to be there for a love one or being asked to wait outside and get no information on how they are doing. Thanks you,

  239. Vicki King on said:

    I have always kept social security cards and insurance cards in my wallet. I learned if an emergency arises and I am not home and need this info I am in bind. All the other important papers such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, adoption papers, etc..these are all kept in a portable fire proof box at home. I will be adding emergency phone numbers, bank information etc thanks to your post.

  240. I am very interested in the in car safe you have, I might have to talk to the wife about that one.

  241. I definitely LOVE this idea, and will DEFINITELY be creating my own this weekend. Thank you so much for the idea.

  242. I already have a folder with a lot of this in it, but putting it in a binder for better organization is a great idea. And now, I’m going to add the family’s id pouches to it. As far as if it is worth the risk, if someone is able to take my folder from where I have it stored, I’m going to have bigger fish to fry than the fact that they have all that information. The benefit of having this info at hand when I need it completely out weighs the risk of filing some paper work if it were ever taken.

  243. I already have a folder with the majority of this in it, but making it into a binder for better organization is a fabulous idea. Plus, I’m going to add the family’s id cards and make the ‘what to do in emergency’ check list. Also, I completely agree about the benefits out weighing the risk. If someone gets to where I store my folder, I have bigger fish to fry than the problem of them taking most of the information in the folder.

  244. The idea of having both dollar bills and quarters is brilliant. Never know when those quarters could make the call to save a life! Thanks for the suggestions!

  245. Marjorie on said:


    I think this is a great idea and will start putting my “kit” together this weekend! I would like some ideas on how to prepare an emergency kit for my daughter who almost 4 years ago was in an automobile accident and now suffers with a traumatic brain injury that has left her without the use of her body or speech and is in a wheelchair requiring 24/7 care. I think about all the things I use on a day to day basis just to take care of her, everything from medications to diapers. And will 3 days supply be enough? I’m still dealing with the fact that my daughter had her life vibrant life altered in such a traumatic way I really haven’t given any thought to another emergency with her in this condition. Please help, if you can. Thank you so much for any suggestions.

    • Marjorie,

      I’m so sorry to hear about this. Stories like yours are heartbreaking. I will give this some thought and do some research. I have a few friends on my shelf reliance team who are either in wheelchairs themselves or have a situation similar to yours. I will see what ideas I can come up with and do a post in the next month or so.


  246. I have done this, I think this is an awesome idea. I have mine hidden (though not in my car) but I also put it in a vacuum sealer bag and vacuum sealed it so it would not get wet. Thanks again for this blog, it is so awesome and really helps me to be prepared. I sincerely hope you go around again with it as I started late and did not get the first few weeks!

  247. I LOVE this notebook idea…I feel so organized and prepared. One thing I added to the inside pocket of my notebook. An external harddrive that has a copy of all my photographs from my computer. It is thin enough that it fits in the pocket without making my notebook too fat :)
    thanks again for the tips

  248. Jessica Jones on said:

    I love this idea! I will have to create one.

  249. Love this idea! I am a military wife and wish I knew or thought about this sooner. Definitely going to share this with my friends.

    Already have filled everything out, printed and am in the process of putting it into a binder.

  250. Jenn Push on said:

    Thanks for the creative ideas! This is my first time visiting your page, I really enjoy it!

  251. This has got to be the most thorough post on emergency binders that I have seen. Thank you so much for putting all this together in one place, with the printables. I have been meaning to do this forever, and you break it down so well!

  252. Krista Smith on said:

    This is very helpful information & necessary for the real world we live in. I plan to start on getting all this done, this week. Thank you for sharing.

  253. I found this website on a friends page, and I LOVE IT. I already updated my kit, and I feel more organized. thanks again!

  254. I’m proud to say I got nearly everything I wanted put together in a binder last night and also scanned into our computer to be uploaded somewhere. I need to update our home inventory and will add the cats vaccination records when they are updated later this month.

  255. This is the first time to this site. I am planning on starting an emergency book asap. I think it is a great idea to have because you never know what is going to happen. If nothing else, it helps you keep things like shot records, birth certificates, etc in the same place.

  256. Michelle Schmidt on said:

    This is my first visit to your site. I’m impressed. I have not done anything to create an emergency or bug-out-bag, but I’m going to get started. Your site is full of helpful information and motivation! Having all important documents in one place is practical. Yes, it’s a risk, but once compiled, maybe keeping the binder inside an actual safe deposit box at a bank would provide increased security. I think that’s where I would keep it.

  257. First off, thank you for this information! I spent more time reading through the comments, and there’s SO MUCH amazing stuff here to think about.

    I’ve had the makings of a binder for a while now, but honestly it’s such a headache trying to think of everything that needs to go in there…and I’m the only nut in my house that thinks we need one. Well, not entirely, but I’m the only one who’s going to go to the trouble of making and updating one.

    A couple of thoughts: Everyone seems worried about the thought of keeping this info ON your person. When I first went through this, I had the same thought–OMG What if it gets stolen!! And then I started thinking about what’s in my wallet…my credit card, my bank card, my SS card, health insurance cards…there’s an awful lot I carry on me every day that could get stolen even easier, ’cause my wallet’s a whole lot more portable! (Supposed to be, right?) Most of the stuff in my wallet isn’t stuff I NEED all the time. Other than me forgetting our insurance cards when I go to the doctor’s office, it would probably be safer if I have it all gathered into another place; make it LESS portable, so to speak. Easily accessible for my family; not so for random strangers.

    I was also a bit worried at the thought of having all the originals in one place. But even there, it’s a matter of use, I guess. I like the idea of keeping our health information all in one spot (insurance cards included); makes more sense. I don’t like the idea of our SS cards all in one spot with other more-used info. At my age, I certainly hope my children won’t need to access my “end of life” info for a LONG time.

    So I guess what it comes down to is a matter of personal comfort. Some people will be fine keeping their originals with them. Some won’t and will lock all the originals in a safe/bank deposit box. The more tech-saavy among us will take the risk that they will be able to access that information in some way even in an emergency. No one is right. No one is wrong.

    I’m just very glad that Misty put together this site with easy-to-use info that won’t make me crazy trying to figure out what needs to be physically WITH me and what I’ll be safe keeping at home or in the bank box. The goal, in the end, is to get it together in a way you’re personally comfortable with…and I’m going to raid these printables like no one’s business to get me there!! ….I think I’m gonna need more ink…

  258. I just happened upon your site here and I want to tell you that I think this is a wonderful idea and that I plan to start my kit right away. Thank you so much!

  259. Maribeth on said:

    Also this weekend is child awareness at all Old Navy stores. They are having safety sessions and kids info cards to give away.

  260. Maribeth on said:

    We are new to this style of thinking, and don’t really have any of these things. Reading what everyone else already has and does makes me feel VERY unprepared. That is going to be remedied and I love that you have a week by week rundown of what is best to have. Thank you so much for all the great ideas!
    We have our id’s and certificates and all that in a safe at home but I never really thought about taking it around with me. We also have a newborn and I don’t have any info other than a ss card. So I will be making this notebook although I don’t know yet if we’ll have it outside the house. I will carry pictures and identification of the kids as well as some type of DNA of theirs in case something were to happen while we are around town. But when we do go out of town we WILL be taking all the info with us!

  261. I just found your site and am looking forward to checking out the previous posts. Thanks for this easy approach and the great tips.

  262. Great idea. I saw several months ago where that very popular woman financial adviser was selling a kit very much like this on a shopping channel. I thought it was so smart. I wanted to order it but it was kinda pricey. This was I can put one together myself. Thanks so much.

  263. i actually started with this one back in april…so im mostly set…i still have a few things to add to the binder but i have to get them first..life insurance, and a will…those are my two big ones i need to get done

  264. B. Murdock on said:

    Great suggestions.

  265. Very concise! I had a similar notebook when my children were home but have let it go since all the children are grown. Guess I need to revamp some areas. We have found it very useful in the past to have a contact or two in another area of the country that all can call.

  266. meredith on said:

    The local school sent home child ID cards with their pictures from school picture day. Has important information sections on the back. My hubby keeps one copy in his wallet and the other is in our family binder, used as the picture for your printable. We will be finger printing this afternoon when the kids get home.

    Someone else has mentioned the picture taking before going somewhere busy, we took it to the next level and take a daily pic at the front door before we head out anywhere, and are using the pictures to kill two birds with one stone. We get to chronicle the kids as they grow and we have a daily pic incase something happens.

  267. This is one of the things I look forward to making most out of all the things on your list. :) I DO know where all of those things are, but they are NOT all in one easy-to-access place. I know I will feel much better when this week’s project is completed. :) Thanks for sharing so much!

  268. This is my first visit to your site, and I’m very impressed with the level of detail here! I’m definitely going to start one of these binders. You can never be too prepared, and I don’t want to regret not doing this! Thanks for the tips!

  269. Tom Arnold on said:

    Lots of great ideas. There’s one thing we do you might want to consider. Everything you’ve got in the binder (plus anything else that might be important or even just useful but not priority for the binder), scan it all and have copies on a thumb drive that all adults carry with them at all times.

    The list of passwords & such, enter them into a text file. Make sure you save it formatted as a text file & not Word, PDF, or other. The computer you access this at might not have those programs on it, but every computer can read a plain text file. For security of this file, zip it into a zip file with a password and include a copy of the zip executable on the drive. This way you can unzip it & read it anywhere.

    Many of the important documents in the binder (birth certificates etc), I hope those aren’t the only copies of them. If the binder _does_ get stolen or lost, you need a backup.

    Make sure you get official copies to store in a separate (off site best) location. You can request official copies of many documents. The ones you can’t, make copies and have them notarized.

    If you have a smartphone, install the app I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency). Your most important health & contact info can be entered here. In many areas, first responders are trained to look for this app on peoples phones for contact & health info (particularly allergies). On some OS’s, it will put an icon on the phone’s lock screen so it’s easily accessible as soon as the phone is turned on.

    If you _do_ have a smartphone, make sure it is configured to lock every time it’s turned off and that it requests a pass code to unlock.

  270. We will be getting family photos soon, thank you for the great info. I will be doing the childrens ID pages as a homeschool/craft project. It will make it a fun project for everyone :) Thanks again.

  271. christina on said:

    I don’t have anything this week organized so I have a busy week. Thanks for the print outs. One thing we do plan on doing though, which I actually saw on tv of all places, is keeping her bandaids. That way we also have her DNA if God forbid its ever needed to identify her for any reason. I want to keep them in a ziplock in the freezer to keep them uncontaminated. But adding one to this folder wouldn’t hurt either.

  272. Joellyn A. on said:

    Wow!!! I love the idea of a binder. I currently have birth certs and ssn’s and other important papers in my fire resistant box- need to get a bigger one so i can put a whole binder in it. It’s on the list….

  273. This is a brilliant idea. I will be making one of these. Keeping up with all my family’s stuff is a pain. This will help a lot!

  274. I love this idea. I’m a little on the obsessively organized side. I love the print outs you created. I think something people could add is the blood type for each member of the family on their ID page. I recently had a hospital stay and didn’t even know my own blood type (I know). I think it’s just as important as the other information on there. Perhaps children should also be asked to memorize their blood type, wish my mother had!

  275. I love this idea! We just moved from our apartment to my mother’s new house, and we only plan on being there for maybe a year before we get a house of our own…so that means things get moved around multiple times, and the last thing i need is to lose my ID information. will be working on this immediately! Thank you!


  276. the goat on said:

    I’ve did this same thing right after Hurricane Katrina hit. I heard so many stories of people losing everything and they didn’t or couldn’t find the paper work to get their life moving forward again. So instead of doing everything in a notebook… I scanned everything and keep it on a memory stick. Then I have the memory stick in a large heavy safe at a neighbors home (I have access to the safe). Being electronic, you have more room to add additional photos and documents as each year goes by and the physical size of the information never gets bigger than the memory stick!

  277. Angela F on said:

    Hello! This is fantastic! Thank you for sharing.
    While I am a paranoid fanatic about identity theft, I have to say I wish I’d had the insight to do an important documents folder like yours. During a recent move my paperwork went missing and got jumbled up, most likely due to immigration proceedings for my husband. It took forever to find everything and keep it together and I still get worried as to whether everything is where it should be.
    I especially liked the identification kits, pictures, and money. And I’d recommend a smaller, pared down version of this for traveling.

  278. I don’t know if this has been mentioned yet or not, but in addition to fingerprints for everyone, I’d include some DNA samples and/or dental records. “Losing” a child has been mentioned, but something no parent wants to think about is identifying a child. In a major disaster, access to DNA/dental records may not be easily accessible. Just make sure that the DNA is put into some type of “taint proof” container of some sort.

    • Thanks Wendy! I added that to the Child ID section.

    • This site is fantastic!!! I just wanted to add a little info. In Ohio you can get a state issued ID card for a child of any age, that way if something happened to the child the police could send that picture with physical description across the country if need be with a push of a button. Also if they have this ID the parent can put two next of kin phone numbers attached to their ID number. Emergency room nurses said it is a God send in an emergency. Also putting child’s info on the back of their car seat can help a lot. Thanks for all your info. Vicki

  279. Thanks for this great information. I have created this notebook in my mind several times but have never actually gathered everything together. I especially like the lists that you made for your husband and you to gather in case of evacuation. I really need to get on this.

  280. Phyllis Bender on said:

    I am going to pass this idea on to my husband who is the one that takes care of all our stuff. This would be wonderful for both so us (especially me) since all those documents are scattered in multiple “safe” places throughout his home office . I have to remember where I am supposed to find each one if needed. I imagine that if such an event were to occur,I might have trouble remembering multiple “secret” spots. It would be a great relief to know that all I need is one binder. Awesome. This will be a good winter project for my retired husband who loves to “organize”.

  281. Linda Beth on said:

    I made one of these books long ago, had plenty of times when I needed it, and recommend everyone have one. My kids do not have one. That says a lot about their opinion of my opinion, LOL. I do have a few suggestions to help people get started. If you go to government sites, like Social Security, Retired Military, any sites like these, you will often find a list of important papers to keep. This is particularly important for people getting government retirements, SS retirement, or retired military…. Sites are plentiful. Another idea would be to keep only copies of your documents in one book and originals in another that you keep possibly in a safety deposit box. If you are concerned about identity theft, as I am, have a code that you use to only list your information on different pages. Instead of a page of actual copies of your social security numbers, list a persons name, first names only, and then use your “code” for the numbers. There are lots of codes out there or you can come up with your own as I did. Then make sure a trusted relative or friend knows how to “uncode” the listing. In my case, my adult son knows my code, or rather he has it stored in his papers. Credit Card numbers the same way, also keep the phone number for each card handy. Not much you can do about some things, except to store them safely in alternate locations like lawyers offices or deposit boxes and only reference them in the book that you keep handy at home or in your car. I can’t stress how much easier this will make the lives of anyone who survives you, or how handy it can be. It also becomes an eye-opener if you go as far as I have and list all your bills, due dates, amounts, addresses, phone numbers, and see the startling totals. Time to budget! But when your executor takes over, he will be thrilled. My father passed away without such a book and it took me the better part of a year before I was able to finally close out his accounts and distribute the remaining inheritance. There is nothing too sacred to put in this book! Or maybe you need two books, one for documents and one for finances and maybe a section for final arrangements? Getting carried away????

  282. I really like ideas that you have come up with in your survival book. I have one other suggestion that doesn’t take up much space and with today’s technology would be invaluable. Place several strands of each family members hairs in a baggie of their own (to keep from contaminating from outside sources)and attach the appropriate baggie to each persons ID Kit card. DNA analysis has come a long way and has save a lot of folks precious time and heartache.

  283. Heather Call on said:

    I love your website…I am wondering if you have all your week by survial kit ideas in a pdf form, I just do better seeing it on paper? Also do you have a copy of the outline for your cover sheet page for your emergency binder? Thank you for your amazing website…I’m excited to really get prepared!

    • Heather Call on said:

      One more question…in your paper with your emergency numbers..what do you put for your insurance, what is important to record there? Your policy # or their phone number or both?

    • I don’t have each week in pdf form although I am working on it and will publish it soon as an ebook. And I’ve added a link to the cover sheet to the post. You can now download it as a pdf or word doc.

  284. What a great post! I think it is a fantastic idea and I do not understand the criticism. Maybe adding that every family should have a fireproof/waterproof safe at home for all important documents would be necessary. I think it could be a great plan to keep the book protected in such. Thanks again for ALL the amazing information…and inspiration!

  285. Jamie Brown on said:

    I think this is a great idea to have and will get all the stuff together for me to make one. I already take a picture on my cell phone of my kids when we go out in public so that way if they get lost I will know what they are wearing while I’m freaking out and my brain wont work right lol. I would keep this in my car with me while I am out and keep it in a handy place incase something would happen and while I am in the store I would actually hide it where the spare tire goes and then just take it back out once i am back in the car. Thanks for this great idea.

  286. Sandra Mock on said:

    As a “senior citizen” I found this very helpful for my “final info book” – the book my children will need after my death. Thanks

  287. Jenni R on said:

    My husband and I are originally from SoCal and his family’s home burned down in the ’03 fires. Unfortunately no one was home or in the area so they lost everything they owned. Including all their important documents. Thank you for all your fantastic ideas!! We’re working on building our 72 hour kits for ourselves and our 2 dogs and your site will prove to be very resourceful. One thing I’ve learned from my husband’s family and from others is to not only have these items physically in hand, but to also have a back up. Whether that be by scanning and emailing them, having them on an external hard drive and kept in a safe deposit box or at a family member’s home, etc. but to always have an additional safety measure in place. Heaven forbid during an evacuation it be misplaced.

    Thanks again! :)

    • Yes Jenni you are so right! Backups are essential. THanks for sharing a “real-life” story. I’m so sorry that they lost everything. That would be so, so tough!

  288. Denise on said:

    I just discovered your site via Pinterest, and am so excited! Our home church has begun planning for this very thing. In the past, we have been involved in helping evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, and feel compelled to be ready at a greater level to be a blessing in our community.

    I tried to download the documents on this entry, but I keep getting a http://www.screencast.com/404.aspx message. Is there a way I can fix that? I am anxious to assemble out emergency folder and these documents would be extremely helpful.

    Thanks so much for putting in such a great effort to help others.

  289. Alisse Coil on said:

    Thanks for the great info! I can’t open the above references documents. I am most ly wanting the id cards….can you email them to me? I am teaching a class on this tomorrow and these will be a great addition to what I have gathered.

  290. Wish I had time to read all the replies, but suggestion on the hiding it in your car. Make copies of the everything and place it in different spots if people are so worried about putting it in one spot. People are postin they have fireproof boxes so put one in there, one in the car and maybe just an envelope of everything copied (black & white) as back up back up in the adult bags each. Can’t be over prepared right!

  291. I live in tornado alley, and I have to take cover more than once a year in an underground shelter. When we get the warnings on the radio and sense that yes we will have to take cover, there are certain documents and photos that I want with me. I pack my bag before we go to shelter. Anyone who has survived a tornado knows why being prepared is so important. I’ve gotten better at keeping the stuff organized and accessible, but a notebook would surely help! Thanks for the idea. I can use it to adapt one for my needs.

  292. Brianna W on said:

    I absolutely love this idea. I am a military wife and when it comes time to move again (and again and again) having everything together is crucial. I have had friends that their movers pack their passports or other important documents and have a hard time getting to their new home. We are leaving Germany soon and this is the perfect way to have everything with me while traveling. Thanks again for the idea.

  293. Vanessa on said:

    My family is going on a long trip later this week, and I was trying to come up with a way to organzie everything. This binder is such a great idea. I love the child ID kits, we have 4 little ones, so it is hard to keep track of everything in an emergency. The only problem I have is that I cant seem to get the attachment to open. Could you please email me the ID kits? Thank you so much for the great idea.

    • I will email it, but one of the two links should work. One is in Word, so you if don’t have that or have an older version, then it won’t work. The other is a pdf and should work if you have adobe on your computer. I will email them both.

  294. Emmaline on said:

    It was all looking like a good idea until I reached the “Other Important Documents” section. What emergency situation would you be in that requires your Will? Or the deed to your house? Or your insurance policies?! And more importantly why on earth would you risk keeping ALL of that information in your car? Put it in a safety deposit box for crying out loud. Or at the very least in your house. I can think of SO MANY ways it could be destroyed by keeping it in your car that are far more likely than burglary, or some unforeseeable catastrophe that would destroy your entire house (folder included). I feel uneasy just hearing about it being kept in your car. While I do think it’s a good idea to keep important documents like pictures, extra cash and numbers etc. in one place (more for convenience and organization than for safety) I disagree with your comment that a car thief wouldn’t know what to do with a folder full of nearly every piece of identifying information you own. I think ANYONE would know what to do with a folder full of credit cards, birth certificates, your will (?!), the deed to your house? These are NOT easy documents to replace! And WHY would you tell the world where you have it hidden?! Don’t be so cavalier with important information like this! PLEASE…take my advice. Move it to some place safe.

    • Emmaline, while I love differing opinions, I appreciate them much more when they are expressed kindly. If you don’t and feel the risks outweigh the benefits, then by all means, don’t make a folder, or make it and keep it somewhere you feel it is safer!

      If you read through the comments, you will see many, many uses for such a folder from many real people in real situations.

      For me personally (and I recognize that not everyone will feel the same…and that is okay!), I’ve decided that this works for my family. I don’t want mine far away from me in a safety deposit box. What if I need it, but can’t get there for some reason? I’ve needed it while away from home many, many times and I’ve never even faced a true emergency!

      And, I would know what to do with credit cards if I found them, yes. But everything else? I would have NO clue how to even BEGIN stealing someone’s identity with their birth certificate and SS cards. I’m sure I could figure it out eventually, but it would take me some time!

      And, yes readers know it is in my car. But they have no clue where my car is other than somewhere in Utah! (-: I don’t think that gives them a very good head start!

      • Christina on said:

        Misty, I made one of your binders about a week ago. I have already needed it SEVERAL TIMES! I am so happy I made it! I used it at the DMV, SS office, WIC and at the hospital! All for just “forgetting” one or more items needed for an appt. I think it is an awesome idea! It has saved me headaches and gas to go back and get it again. I think keeping it in your car is a risk, HOWEVER, keeping in your house or a safety deposit box has risk as well! Think catastrophic storm, terrorist attack, or well ZOMBIES!? ( ok that was for giggles ) if the safety deposit box is inacsessable, the house burned down, the folder is gone. At least in your car it can be used when needed without having to “find” it. I think this is a great idea. Great job!!

    • Laurie on said:

      You have many great ideas for people to consider. Very appreciated. However I agree with Emmaline, why would you keep this info in your car? And why would you tell the entire world that you do so? You have posted & pinned to the world your photo and the place you live. While you have many fabulous helpful hints, I kindly suggest you don’t keep a notebook in your car. You have made yourself & your family an easy target by being so honest on the web. Please reconsider thinking of your car as a “safe” hiding place. Just my 2 cents.

      • Thank you for your concern Laurie. I’ve stated my reasons in my post. I agree it is a risk, but one I’m willing to take. I doubt most could find my car b/c they’ve seen my picture and a picture of my home.

  295. Natalie on said:

    I was wondering your reasoning behind bringing a fire extinguisher with you when you are evacuating?

  296. Erin Johnson on said:

    I have mine organized in my file cabinet but I like the idea of them all being together in a binder. God forbid the house is burning down or I need to run to the aid of one of the children, taking time to pilfer through a file cabinet can be time consuming, especially if your head is elsewhere! Thanks for the idea.

  297. Amanda on said:

    hi there, i stumbled on your blog through pinterst. i started a binder similar to this one, but I didn’t have any guidelines. This one is much easier to navigate for anyone who might need it. I unfortunately don’t always drive the same vehicle, the folder stays at home (unless traveling). I made copies of the folder and put them on disks. A few family members have them. And I stored them on a usb storage that I keep on my key chain. I also emailed the not so sensitive info (child/adult id. and insurance info) to myself. Thanks to a smartphone I am able to access it and send it if needed. I know in a power outage the access to some of that is useless, but that is why i have multiple backups. Thank you for sharing. And thank you everyone for the posts. All this info is great to have.

  298. I think this is a great example of clever organization. I was contemplating the risks involved by keeping all of this information in one place…but the solution is put it in a safe! My family has a small fire proof safe that we keep this kind of stuff in (in a far less organized pile). Also, just like creating backups for your computer, you should keep either a complete copy-set or a modified copy somewhere else, just in case the one set is not accessible for whatever reason. We have a photography business, and it is imperative that we do not lose the digital negatives so we have at least three backups all stored in different areas…studio, home, hub’s office. same idea with anythign important.

  299. Nancy Bowker on said:

    Fabulous idea! I have been looking for a way to organize everything in a convenient place. This will make it very easy. Thanks for sharing.

  300. Wendy Hampton on said:

    I just wanted to thank you for these guidelines. I can easily pick and choose what applies to my situation and have emailed it to all my sisters, my brother, and my uncle. Yes the info is sensitive, but just try and live after a disaster and need one of the documents you never copied! I think you have done all of us a great favor and I am very grateful.

  301. I came across this on pinterest and it is great! My fiance thinks I am crazy, but I don’t think he would have any idea of what to do or take in an emergency. Hopefully now he’ll know. Thanks so much for sharing!

  302. Not sure if anyone said anything yet but are those real social security cards? Hard to see from my phone but they look real and someone probably has the software capabilities to read the small print in the picture. Great idea just hope the soc cards aren’t real.

  303. This is a good idea for my family because then when important documents are needed, then we would have them. We don’t always know where stuff is – sometimes I will put ss cards, birth certificates in my top dresser only to find when I go to get them, not all are there. We are very dis-organized.
    I am proud to say that I have child identity kids for both my kids. Got them through an insurance guy who left a sign up for them at the doctor’s office. Came with a finger print thing. According to this guy when I got them, the police have said that his company has better identity kits than they do. I don’t always carry them with me (they fold up into a little folded pamphlet) but I try if we are going somewhere it will be crowded like a carnival or fair.
    And I’m bad – I went ahead and read this survival post here before ever going to week 1 since I’ve never been here before. Be happy though that this great idea of yours is spreading across Pinterest so hopefully soon we’ll all have an emergency kit handy when needed.

  304. Jessica on said:

    I just lost my 3 yr old son for about an hour and a half last week. The most terrified I’ve ever been! I frantically printed out a recent pic while the police were on their way. We found him, praise the Lord! But it would have been so much better to have this wealth of info on hand. Getting started on it today! Great info! Thank you!

  305. Amber on said:


    Found your site via Pinterest and am thrilled to find someone MORE organized than me! You have done all the legwork leaving us to benefit. I have printed the ID kits to add to our emergency binder – which are an AWESOME idea – as they are the ONLY thing I hadn’t thought to add yet.

    Thank you and I will continue to check out your site and see what other fantastic ideas you have to offer!

    • Amber on said:

      One thing I have added to your ID kits is blood-types for everyone, just in case something really, REALLY bad happens! Hubby and our daughter are fairly common, but mine is much rarer & I would hate to think something so important be overlooked!

  306. Barbara Lynette on said:

    I live in Colorado Springs, and this past month over 300 families lost their homes in a wild fire that unexpectedly took a tragic turn toward the city. Most of these individuals had less than an hour to evacuate. And so many left with just the clothes on their backs. It’s easy to think this would never happen to me. But I have seen firsthand what a blessing it is to be prepared.

    Thanks so much for all this invaluable information.

  307. Birth Certificates, copies of credit cards, pet chip cards, property tax bill, utility bill (used to show that you live in a certain home so you can get back in case police are on guard).

  308. Kris Lee on said:

    Hi, I had a lady I knew that had an emergency folder. When her husband died unexpectedly she was very distraught, as you might imagine. She handed her binder to her family and they knew exactly how to take care of things and she was left to grieve w/out having to make all the difficult decisions and trying to find info.
    such a great idea and I am determined to get one made before the end of the year.

  309. KAthy on said:

    Hi there!! I too found you via Pinterest. I have been making notes and plan to get started ASAP! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas.
    I was just curious if any body knows if copies of all the suggest documents are okay or if any MUST be originals.?? I have all my originals in a safety deposit box so I was planning to just make copies of things such as : birth cert . marriage lic . and etc.
    Also – I did not see anyone suggest grabbing the jewelry. My mom just passed away *tears* and I have some of her stuff that I would never want to be without … that will be on my GRAB N GO list!
    Also – another thing some may need to add is a copy of any child custody papers.
    p.s. Can I please get a copy of the cover page too … please and thank you !

    • Hi Kathy. I think for most purposes you must have original documents, but I’m sure in a true emergency situation, a whole binder of copied documents would be helpful until you could get to the originals! I will email you the cover sheet. (-:

  310. Debbie Dotolo on said:

    This is so well organized! I need to do this and add another friend’s suggestion which I’m sure is on here somewhere. She photocopied the back of all her credit cards for the important phone numbers. Sadly, her car was broken into while she was at the gym. After tracking down her husband to get the phone numbers off his corresponding cards, they had purchased gas & over $500.00 at Walmart which she then had to dispute. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

    When people post hurtful things it is because they are jealous of you & looking for a way to bring you down to their level. It makes them feel better about themselves. I admire anyone who shares their life/tips/stories via a blog. Your passion for your purpose must exceed the haters comments or your feelings will become hurt much to their delight.

    • I’ve definitely learned to let things roll off my back a bit more Debbie, but it has also encouraged me to change my perspective and be more open minded. (-: I hope your friend got her money back!

  311. I thought that was a fabulous idea… I have cardboard folder with the kids information like passport, social security, insurance card, etc.. And everyone has one but I never thought of the family evacuation, fingerprinting on the adults nor the money… Thanks Misty

  312. An idea for those concerned about keeping a folder like this-put a misleading label on the spine so it isn’t obvious what you have there…something like “Afghan Patterns” or something.

    I’ve been putting together a home management binder but there were quite a few things you included that didn’t occur to me. Thanks for sharing!

  313. Shaelene Clark on said:

    (Recently married) And we just started updating and creating our 72 hour kits, one of the things that we have that i didn’t see listed here in your steps was extra gas. If there is a disaster, your local gas stations probably wont be open. And if they are their going to be PACKED with people trying to get enough gas to get out of dodge.

  314. Another thing that I am adding is a passport and a State ID for the children. That way there will be 2 official picture ID’s for each member.

  315. Laura on said:

    Amazing! I have alway thought of putting everything in a fire proof safe but this is such a great idea to have everything on hand and organized. I will definately be making one of these.

  316. Kathryn Gilliam on said:

    I just started creating my emergency binder. You never know when you might need to evacuate in a hurry, and as long as it’s taking me to gather all of this important information for the binder, I know there’s no way I could gather it all in time to leave home if I’m rushing and stressed out. Thank you very much for the inspiration to take care of this incredibly important preparedness task and for sharing your tips for organizing it all in a binder. Once I complete the binder, I will feel I have taken a major step forward in my preparedness plan.

  317. Jessica on said:

    Thank you for this information. I just got married but i want to be prepared for anything. I’m making this binder for my husband and i, and plan to add children later! We have lots of wildfires in my area, it would be very useful to have everything in one binder to grab in a hurry.

  318. Perri on said:

    What a great idea. My kids are getting older, but to have all their documents at hand in an emergency is brilliant. Some of their documents are irreplaceable as they are now; birth certificates from Mexico and the original reports of US citizens born abroad.

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    • Elise N. on said:

      Hi there. I came across this through a friend that had posted it on Pinterest. I just spent several hours, but I made the whole binder and used all of your templates. I can’t tell you how much better I feel. I now have every phone number, password, and bit of information together. My life in a box indeed!
      I will be going through the rest of your tips and following the plan throughout the year.
      Thanks for de-mystifying such an overwhelming task!

  320. Melanie on said:

    I would also suggest adding Medical information (list of prescriptions and dosage amounts, child’s immunization records). As well as an old copies of all your utility/mortgage bills. Then you have acct. #s, contact info and due times in case you’re out of your home for an extended period. Xerox drivers license. Book of checks.
    And to make it a true emergency kit I would add info to be used by a grandparent/friend in case both parents were gone and someone else had to take care of your children. Insurance policies, retirement accounts, safety deposit box, children’s saving or college accts.
    You can also keep pics on your phone of car license tag, pets, children, medication labels, for that emergency situation where you are away from home and your folder.

    • Got the utility / mortgage stuff on the important phone #s page and the insurance policies, retirement accounts etc. And the kid’s immunization records are in their pocket. But I should Xerox the drivers licenses and prescriptions and a book of checks! Great ideas! Thanks!

  321. jennifer on said:

    I totally agree with you!!! I actually started doing this several years ago because whenever I had appointments that required such info, I could never find it. It has been the best thing in the world. Mine isn’t nearly as organized as yours is and I think I will go ahead and incorporate many of your suggestions. I love having all my info in 1 place and easy to access. I never thought about keeping it in the car, but I also don’t have a safe in my car, so that’s ok. :-) keep up the good work!

  322. Uschi on said:

    Many many thanks – this is such a great idea!

  323. Misty I love the idea of the book. My father passed away and I had to go eliminate the estate. It took me months. One of the most important things I found after months of going through papers was their marriage certificate. I did not know where they were married etc. finding that certificate created $1000 in VA funds for my mom. He did not prepare. It has taught me how important it is to have everything in one place. It has made me reprioritize about what is important. After I pulled everything together one set of documents is in my safe, which can be accessed by my children? But I made copies of everything and keep a complete second book in my safe deposit box at the bank for backup in case of fire etc. I also have added a small folder with copies of every credit card we have front and back. I keep cards I don’t use in the safe, in baseball card pages of a binder. Inside the book I keep photo copies of everything we have in our wallets currently so if my wallet is gone, I have a list of everyone I need to call in case of emergency to cancel cards in a moment’s notice.

  324. Lori on said:

    Thank you for providing so much info… A bit late in the game, but starting our binder. Curious, you have to update the child ID kits every 6 months. How often do fingerprints need to be taken for a child?

    • You aren’t late! I cycle though each post in the series every 6 months!

      Fingerprints only need to be taken once. I’m thinking of just cutting them out of the original and putting them in a ziploc and taping them to each new kit every 6 months…do you have any other ideas? I didn’t really think about that when I created the template…

      • Lori on said:

        Hi Misty, I did a little digging into scrapbooking supplies and found the following… http://www.archiversannex.com/Ring-Photo-Sleeve-Protectors-85X11-10/Pkg-2-6X4-And-1-475X85-Pockets-WR50029/default.aspx?PageID=21&CategoryID=95&ProductID=20307&RootCatCode=11100

        It will fit in a 3 ring binder and has three sections for photo, Prints and info. You could then slide out the photo and/or info for updating as needed. Only downfall is it comes in a pack of 10. It is not too expensive and the anal side of me likes the idea of it being nice and organized :-). What do you think?! Is it worth a new template? He he. ;-)

  325. This is wonderful! I have a soft attachable pencil holder pocket I am going to use for passports ect, but will keep those in the fire proof safe in our house, with the numbers copied into the binder. In a moments situation we will be more than able to grab those, as well as having photo copies at our parents, as well as in the binder. Things I did add to the evac list: Guns and Ammo ( we live in the desert! Hand guns for the moments evac) and extra fuel for the vehicle. That way if the city doesnt have power (which means gas stations don’t work) we aren’t hindered. Thank you thank you!

  326. Trish on said:

    I totally agree with making this booklet. I have something similar to yours. For those that are worried about “security” of the documents, we keep ours in a safety deposit box along with a copy of all our family pictures on DVD.

  327. Mom4Him518 on said:

    Wow – I just found you on Pinterest, and I love your ideas for organizing our important personal info. One of our daughters, and her family, are preparing to move to SE Asia to work with people-group who are unreached for the Lord. I think this would be a wonderful idea for her family. I think it may be a good idea for them to leave copies of all this information with us and our son-in-law’s parents just in case something happens and we need to go find them or prove who they are in order to bring them back home. This will help put our minds a little more at ease, as parents and grandparents. Thank you, again! ~Blessings to you and your family.

  328. Felicia on said:

    Love this information, THANK YOU for sharing. I am printing all of the pages now. I just found this on pinterest, I am fairly new to it. Do you have a blog with what to keep in a 72 hr pack, It may be a dumb question- but what is that, I have never heard of one;bedsides reading your blog & others comments.

    Awesome Organization Skills
    hope my binder looks that good!

    • Felicia, I’m a firm believer that there are no dumb questions…the only dumb thing would be to not ask! A 72 hr kit is something that I (and others) recommend putting together in case of emergency. It is a kit that would allow you and your family to survive without the assistance of others for about 3 days. I have a whole series on how to build one. YOu can read the first post here:


  329. Lisa Egan on said:

    I love your organizer and will be creating my own (using some of your print-outs, thank you). Earlier this year my husband and I had to go out of state with only a days notice- for a week. We did not have a Will at that time and I wanted some protection for our 2 young sons in case something happened. Road Trip Reality was setting in. After spending 2 hrs hand writing a Holographic Will (5 pages) I quickly realized I needed more organization for the family. I agree with you that there is risk. If something were to happen to my husband and I together- the next person in line needs to be able to quickly set in motion care for our children and not waste time trying to gather paperwork. THANK YOU!!!

  330. Michelle Shields on said:

    I LOVE this idea. Just found your blog, and since I am a teacher and home for the summer, I have some time to begin organizing my important papers. Having lost my home and school in Hurricane Katrina, the importance of this binder is vital. Eventhough I was fortunate and evacuated and left with alot, we left behind several important documents because they were in several locations in my home. My daughter’s social security card was misplaced and destroyed. We lost our pets paperwork for their microchips. There were numerous other documents that were lost and eventually replaced, but the process of replacing them simply added to our already stressful situation! Thank you for sharing!!!!

    • Thanks for the 1st hand story! I’m so sorry that you lost your home…I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been. Thank you for taking the time to share.

  331. Lynnette Martin on said:

    Thank you for your tips. This is a great tool for living in an area that we have had to evacuate more than once due to weather dangers (hurricanes) and in the past tornadoes. This would be great for knowing where these things are without having to look and scramble at the last minute. Great idea!

  332. Donna on said:

    Thank you for this wonderful and inspiring info. I just have one thought to add. Think twice about what you print out on an ink jet printer. The ink is water soluble. Imagine if you had to pull it out in the rain or dropped it in a puddle or for some reason it was near condensation. A ball point pen or indelible marker might save the day. Also, some ink jet ink fades over time when exposed to heat.

  333. Robbiebee on said:

    I’m 19 and already moved out of my house. I’ve already forgotten where I put my birth certificate four times. I made this literally JUST now and I feel safer just knowing that if I need anything, I don’t have to pull out my entire dresser just to find my Social Security Card. Plus, having all this stuff taken care of and in one place in case of emergency, gives me some MAJOR peace of mind. You added in things that I never even thought of to put it (Medical directive? Like that crossed my mind! Adult ID kit info? I already know ALL of that, so what’s the point of putting it in?) I found your site from Pinterest and I am forever grateful you took your own time to figure all this stuff out. And if that wasn’t enough, typing a tutorial on this! Thank you!

  334. Rachel Gainer on said:

    I love your comprehensive list of important docs and all the wonderful suggestions from readers. One less important thing I plan to include in my binder is a list of keepsakes I’d grab in a slower evacuation (one with more than 30 minutes’ warning) or a preemptive self-evacuation. (Yep, I’m paranoid. I don’t wait to be told to evacuate; I go when I get nervous. :) This will be a list of 5-10 irreplaceable items and a description of where to find them in my home. (The items on my list are mostly mementos of my angel daughter–special things I could certainly live without but would be heartbroken to lose if I could prevent it.) I think of these items as my answer to the infamous “What’s the first thing you’d grab in a disaster?” question, which people always answer emotionally instead of rationally. (Everyone would wish they had your amazing master binder.) Obviously, I know where these things are, but when I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago, there was a major fire in my city, and my parents offered to go pick up a few things. I knew what I wanted, but it would have been nice to leave a copy of the list in a binder with them.

  335. Melissa on said:

    Great post! Just a thought on the security issue…of course it’s a risk having any of this information anywhere in the house. I keep mine in a fireproof safe in an inconspicuous area that way it would (hopefully) remain intact in case of fire or theft. A safe deposit box would also be a good bet if one was concerned about its safe keeping (albeit a lot harder to get to in an emergency).

  336. Traci Herger on said:

    Great ideas and with your help I am ready and prepared for a natural disaster or whatever may come our way.

  337. Luana Cesario on said:

    another option for all the nay-sayers, scan everything from the book, save as pdf then email to yourself. In your email account, you can create a folder to keep it in so it isn’t floating in your read/unread lists and gets deleated accidentally.

    • Thanks for the idea Luana! Just be sure if you do it that your email doesn’t get hacked! I’ve had that happen a few times unfortunately!

  338. I agree with you that having a book like this is worth the risk. I have a similar version and I keep ours in the safe. I will probably do the identity pages and the family photo in the car though. Thanks for this resource!

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  340. I think this is an awesome idea. I’m going to put everything I already have in a nice little binder like this. Thanks! Living in North Texas we are under sever weather threats on a yearly basis. Then after the recent hurricane events that forced people into our area, I witnessed families trying to regain a sense of stability without any vital info as to their identity or their children’s. It’s heart wrenching. Years ago we decided the fireproof file box in the back of the closet wasn’t going to cut it, my husband installed a floor safe. Not an easy task on a home with a concrete foundation. Take my advice and have that built in when they pour the foundation. When you see a house that has been obliterated by a tornado and they find their 200 lb cast iron bath tube 5 miles away, you know that a 5 lb fireproof safe may keep your info safe from fire, but in a tornado you’ll have to go looking for it. This little binder will be a great way to keep everything together in that safe place.

  341. Nina on said:

    What kind of waterproof, fire proof safe can hide in your car? I also have all my information together but we keep it in the house. If I had access to a safe like that I would also have it in the car.

  342. Dianndra Stevens on said:

    This is such an amazing thing to keep. Im not sure if you have heard but Colorado Springs, CO is currently in a state of emergency due to recent out break of wildfires. These fires have destroyed 346 homes so far, a few of them people I know. (I live in the Springs) So far, 30,000 people have been evacuated and many have said “I wish I had grabbed this or that” many being important documents. I am going to make this tomorrow and share with all of my friends!!
    This is a life – saver!

    • Yes, I had heard that about Colorado Springs. There are a bunch in Utah too (where I’ve been on vacation the last week). It is scary!

  343. Carrie on said:

    I don’t have everything you do in a notebook per se and it definitely isn’t organized like that BUT food for thought NOTE: I’m not condemning just giving another suggestion. All of my things are together in one place just like yours. Actually I have copies all together in TWO places. One is our bank box where I have to have a key and the bank manager has to have a key to open it. The other is a fire/water proof safe that we keep hidden in our house for exact emergency reasons…. that and we all know the Earth is ending in an apocalypse Dec 21 right? They can eat my brain but can’t have those zombies getting my info! :grins: ;))) My point is I’ve had my car stolen as I live in the 14th largest crime city in America (probably top 10 by now ha!!!). So I was just wanting to give maybe another suggestion for those like myself who also live in a high crime area on how we keep ourselves protected too. Love your idea and I DO need to get it into a notebook. It would save a lot of time scrambling when I’m stressed trying to go thru all the papers even though I know what we have there. Have to admit I’ve not thought about getting mine and my husband’s finger prints or my 2 dog’s IDs put in there. One day if they haven’t already SOMEONE will thank you for this suggestion because it saved their family and/or their possessions. Having lived through Katrina taught us that you can’t ever be too prepared for a disaster

    • Thanks for the great tips Carrie! I appreciate it. It is all about risk and it sounds like where you are at, the car would not be worth the risk!

      And sorry my response took so long, I’ve been on vacation!

  344. Melissa on said:

    I think that this is a fantastic idea. I am an EMT with a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Services Management, which means I deal a lot with disasters. Yes it is a risk having all of this information in one location, but our world seems to be taking a turn for the worst as far as disasters are concerned. If one were to think about it, there are several severe natural disasters a year and there seem to be more and more each year. I live in Utah and there are currently 6 wildfires burning. Would you be ready if your house was in one of the paths of those fires? This is an excellent way of keeping extremely important documents and information with you. I can’t tell you the number of things I would have forgotten if I were ever involved in a disaster, especially birth certificates.
    So, thank you Misty for having such a well organized way of dealing with disasters.

  345. I think this is a wonderful idea! I am going to put this in our fire-proof safe, that way we know where everything is at and I know that it won’t be destroyed! Currently I feel like I have this information all over the house! This is such a wonderful idea! I hope that everyone takes time to do this!

    You are an inspiration!

  346. Pingback: Emergency Survival Document Binder « Do It And How

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  348. Kim M on said:

    Thank you for sharing your plans. I am 24, married for two years and starting to build our life. One night I had a terrible nightmare about natural disaster that consumed my thoughts for the rest of the morning. So by my lunch hour I was on my phone making lists of how I would make emergency packs, where they should be kept and a pretty rough protocol to follow. This helps me prioritize and think of things I haven’t yet.
    I would suggest some of your 30 min list items (ie flashlights or equipments) be pre-packed in your evac-packs so you can reduce the stress/panic and simply make it one to do item of “grab evac-pack and put in trunk.” I am thinking of making mine labeled for each person and dividing up the items between them.
    I also appreciate the pet identification (since my dogs are my only kids-for now!)
    Thanks again!

    • Welcome Kim! I’m glad you’ve found the site helpful. You may also enjoy the rest of the week by week series. I actually do have all those items in our pre-made kit. The others on the list are extras we would grab if we had time. And I’m glad you like the pet ID kit, that was made by a reader of mine!

      And sorry for the late response. I’m on vacation and a bit behind! (-:

  349. Tanya on said:

    I think this is a great idea but I think I would keep mine in a safety deposit box down at the bank.

    • What a great source you have created for emergency preparedness! I was told that my book “My Life in a Box…a Life Organizer” was mentioned in one of the posts, and thought I would check this out and to say the least, your readers have so much great information to add to your list of suggestions. Yeahhh!!!! One person mentioned keeping files in safe deposit boxes, and I just wanted to make a note that if you have one and you live in a seasonal disaster zone (hurricane, tornado, flood etc…) If the disaster happens, first of all, will the bank be there, and second, will the manager be around to open the bank! Think seriously before trusting safe deposit boxes.

      Being over 40 years old, I want to let those of you who are younger, to find a way to make personal emergency preparedness a way of life. Once you establish these wonderful survival techniques, they will be as automatic as brushing your teeth! Also get your kids on board, without scaring them :)

  350. Karie on said:

    I have an emergency binder and I keep it hidden in my house but we are planning a road trip soon, and I’m not sure if I should take it with us or keep it at home? Any suggestions? Thank you ;)

  351. Henry Cervantes on said:

    Such a great idea!
    I just had a family medical emergency, and was at a loss as to find so many of these
    things. I came across you site on pinterest, while sitting in the hospital…KISMIT???

    Can’t wait to learn more!

    Thanks, H

  352. Hayley on said:

    When you say this binder goes wherever you go, do you mean you have it in a bag and you take it wherever you go, including the grocery store etc.? Do you leave it in your car, or keep it on your person? Are you concerned about someone getting their hands on it? I like a previous comment about having it also scanned in the computer as a back up. I plan to work on it, but not sure I feel absolutely comfortable with all this information on my person at all times.

    • Nope, not on my person Hayley! I keep the entire folder well hidden in my car in a fire and water proof safe. I am almost always where my car is, so this works for me. I just want to have relatively quick access to it even when away from home!

  353. Nikki on said:

    I love this…I am doing this immediately!
    As far as the risk of losing it….I just bought a safe and my plan was to just throw these things in there…now I’ll just throw the binder in there!

  354. Helen Chavez on said:

    Love this binder idea. I have most of ths info in a filing cabinet with a ton of other NON important docs. I’m a follower of this website from now on! Thank you for the great advice!

  355. hey… just wanted to let you know that you can read a lot of the info on the social security and insurance cards and in a couple of the other photos on your March 14th blog page … you might want to blur those out :)

    • Thanks Cindy, but I’m not sure what you are talking about. All six SS#s are blurred…very blurred. No matter how I try, I cannot see them. Can you really see them? I cannot read any essential info on the insurance cards either. And which other pictures are you talking about? You can email me directly if you’d like b/c if you can see our socials, I need to know that! misty@yourownhomestore.com

  356. Natasha Rene'e on said:

    Just found this link from Pinterest. I’ve been wanting to have something like this for a long time and just didn’t know where to start. Thanks for the printable downloads. I especially like the ID kits. We have one daughter and four dogs in our house, so having all this in one place will be ideal.

  357. Irina Blue on said:

    Great article. I have a similar Emergency Binder for my family, but you’ve inspired me to reorganize and add a few important things we left out. A million thanks!

  358. Mandy H. on said:

    I too found you on Pinterest. I’m so glad that I did I have been wanting to store our social security number’s and our other imporatnt infomation in an easy to find location. Once I show what I have found to my hubby I think he will be very happy too. Thanks again and you ROCK!!!!!!!! :)

  359. Lauren on said:

    I saw your post through pinterest, and so glad I did! I LOVE this idea, but for a different concept! My daughter is cancer patient, currently in the first stages of remission! I have a bag full of all her information, but it is nowhere near this organized or detailed! Everytime she would spike a fever, low counts or just a chemo session, it was a trip to our children’s hospital in Atlanta, which is an 1.5 hour drive. This would have made my life SOOOOO much easier during those emergencies! Or even to throw in the diaper bag when she goes to visit grandparents. I’m going to start on this first thing tomorrow! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this brilliant idea!

    • I am so glad you’ve found it helpful Lauren! I am a firm believer that these types of preparation most often help us in ways we never anticipated! I wish you and your daughter the best!

  360. Jessica C. on said:

    I just came across your website on pinterest and it is AMAZING. I literally have a fear of the “what if’s”, anything natural disaster to lord knows and you have just eased my mind with all of these steps. I will most certainly be working on this with my boyfriend this weekend! Especially the pet-ID kit, our animals are like our kids [for now ;) ] and if i didn’t have anything on them in an emergency I’d be so upset. Thank you so much for doing all of this – your website has been passed on already to about 5 co-workers and a few family members.

  361. This is a great product but same concept, its called Life Essentials at a Moments Notice and the “what to put in here?” questions are handled for you! When I got married I never had to look for the documents needed to get new license, change my name , etc. The DMV had never seen anyone so prepared! Just thought I’d pass this along. Thanks for letting me share!

  362. Security 101 on said:

    So stupid for posting pics of your Social security cards and B certificates, not just yours but your whole family’s. These will fetch big money. Have you ever played with that little program that comes free with your camera. They can clear that pic up in 2 seconds. Even if you pull these pics off your website, they have already been pinned and repinned. There’s no going back now.

    • Wow. Thanks for your opinion. I’m sorry you feel you have to be so rude and unkind. There is no need to call anyone stupid. Nothing I did hurt you, why do you feel a need to be so unkind? It almost sounds like you are threatening me. I’m not sure what program you are talking about, but I couldn’t even undo that blurring in photoshop.

    • Luana Cesario on said:

      really? you had to be that rude to get a some-what valid point across? look again, the photo is so blurry you can’t possibly pull any information from it.

  363. I just ran across this website and thank you very much for your time! This is going to be extremely helpful to my husband and I.

  364. Megan on said:

    This is all great information. Just a quick question. I have epilepsy and Crohn’s disease that requires daily medication (usually close to 15 pills/day). While I could probably get away without taking them for a couple of days, it could also be a HUGE risk if something were to go wrong with epilepsy or crohn’s (hopefully not both!). Do you have any suggestions for how to have extras of those medications in the emergency kit? Doctors aren’t really too keen on giving out extra meds :-)

    • Sorry for the late response Megan. It has been a crazy weekend here. (-:

      I actually didn’t have many suggestions until I did a post on meds a while back and some of my great readers left some fabulous comments. I would highly suggest reading the comments on this post:


    • Melissa on said:

      Megan, I may have a suggestion. I have studied such information for my bachelor’s and many of the books I read about such situations is having your pharmacy infomation handy. Most stores now are connected by computer data bases and are able to retrieve your prescription information through that. It is also a good idea to keep a copy of medical records or to connect to your doctor’s office via their electronic medical records site (if they have one). Also, having those pill containers that separate your pills by day is a fantastic idea to have with you at all times as well as being full at all times. Place all medication bottles in one easy access location with clear lables, a bag to fit them all in, and a list of which medication to take, how much to take, and when to take them. This is also a very coveted piece of information for EMT’s and Paramedics if they ever have to respond to your home for an emergency.
      Going without your medication is never a good idea or a pleasant experience. I really hope this has helped you out.

    • Patricia on said:

      Just another suggestion from personal experience. Most doctors are willing to give you an “extra hard copy script” or at least the doctors I have will. This is only typically a 5-10 day possible supply and says that it can be filled only in a case of emergency (such that the area is without power, or living in a federally declared area) so that you can leave the area and get a temporary fill. My hard scrips need to be re-written every year to stay up to date and still be able to be filled.
      For my own knowledge and safety in case something was to happen I keep a copy of all my medicine and allergies in my wallet between my ID and health insurance card. (That stack for me also has an in case of emergency call a priest and notify my parents or siblings at such and such number, I’m the youngest and an adult so its something my siblings can handle.)

  365. kris on said:

    this site is AMAZING! seriously- THANK YOU! you really may save lots of our lives one day- including my family. i do have a question- im putting together my important documents but worried about all of this financial info, etc getting into the wrong hands- how do you suggest protecting your information? do you hide your kit in your home? (i apologize if you’ve been asked a million times- i read the other insights but didn’t see this in particular)

    • kris on said:

      wait…i just saw the last post! sorry! lol

      • No problem Kris! I’m glad you found the answer as I’m obviously a bit late in replying. (It has been a crazy (good) weekend with family visiting). Please don’t ever hesitate to let me know if you have questions in the future!

  366. Dayspringacres on said:

    I think the emergency binder idea is great, and have begun to think about beginning to try to start this myself. However, I do have a problem with Identity theft. Anybody who has access to Social Security cards AND birth certificates has all the identity they need to get a driver’s license, passport, and viola, your identity is stolen. It is usually never a good idea to have both in the same place. And yet …

    It is usually necessary during a real emergency to have these documents yourself. Obviously I don’t have all the answers myself.

    • Yes, you definitely have to weigh the risks! Ultimately, I decided I would rather have my identity stolen than my life or my children. If the binder gets stolen I would immediately contact authorities and I have copies (digital and otherwise) of everything in the binder.

  367. Kimberly on said:

    I want to thank you for this information. My husband and I are taking an international trip and I wanted to make a “packet” for those who will care for my 3 children “Just in Case”. Knowing that everything is in one place will ease this mother’s heart from unneccessary worry. We have also had severe weather recently and I should have had this in place a long time ago. This is where I am starting… making the Emergency kit will be my next project. Thank you again!

    • Thank you Kimberly! I really appreciate those who take the time to let me know something has helped them! I hope you enjoy your trip!

  368. Jamie on said:

    Oh, and I also meant to mention, that I plan on giving copies of the main sheets on each person (without SSNs) and the combination to the safe to each of our parents. B/c if something was to happen to me, with out my RN hubby around, my mom would know exactly what to tell a paramedic. We don’t have kiddos yet, but when we do you bet they’ll have all this info. My niece was visiting from out of town and had to be taken to the clinic from getting hurt, it was a big hassle for everyone to get the insurance info straightened out when my Mother in law didn’t have the info and couldn’t get ahold of her parents, who were vacationing.

  369. Jamie on said:

    I was using you template as a guideline for our home information. I thought I would share something you might add. Under Doctors Numbers I’ve added our pharmacy. And also under the pet info I’ve made a place for what kind of food they eat, mine is picky and if anything was to happen, they could get her the right food, and it would keep her a little more calm. Just thought I would share.

  370. Sonja on said:

    Please add me to your mailing list, Thank you for this great info.

  371. Doc Hansen on said:

    I love this–as a nurse I have been part of several earth quakes in Ca. I knew what to put aside having done evacuations. I saw the turmoil of people not having “on hand” what they needed. Medication and a first aide kit is always the #1 in my book.
    So needless to say I love your site and have emailed it to all my friends. Thank you for a grateful heart!!! Doc

  372. Amanda K. Hudson on said:

    I love this idea! Every family needs one of these!

  373. Oh. My. Goodness! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU for this post!! You just made my upcoming FHE night simple and perfect!! I have been looking for something like this forever. You are a lifesaver!

  374. lori hobbs on said:

    Very impressive! If I am lost, hurt, etc. I would hope to find someone like you to help direct me. You have given me ideas to work with, I have done a few of the things in your kit, but looks like I have lots more work to do. Thanks for laying the groundwork for everyone!

  375. Kimmy on said:

    I too am having trouble opening up the files. They open but are all jumbled up and don’t look the same as yours. Maybe because I am opening them on a mac computer that doesn’t have Word yet? Either way do you think you could email them all to me as pdf’s? They are just so fabulous and will save me so much time so I can actually get this binder done. I really appreciate all the hard work you are doing! Thanks!

    • Yes, they only open in Microsoft Word 2010. I will email you the pdfs (and I just added them to the post as welll since so many are having trouble!) Thanks!

  376. Kelly on said:

    Hi Misty,

    My husband and I are just starting on preparing! I came across your notebook which is AMAZING! Thank you for the detailed ideas. I will for sure go back and start at week 1 for more help!

  377. Love this! Thank you so much. I wasn’t able to read all of the comments so forgive me if I’m asking a duplicate question… I can’t open any of your “click here” spots except for the phone number word doc. Two of them link to the same word doc and the others bring me to a new blank window. Any input?

  378. I just found your site I have to say I am impressed I am a military wife (we move a lot, currently in Japan) So this will become very helpful, I will be passing the word along to my friends im sure they will be as excited as I am :) thank you!!

  379. Christy on