Important Documents Emergency Binder

Organizing and Storing Important Documents in Case of Emergency:
If you ask most people what they'd want in an emergency survival kit, they'd probably say that they want food, water, and medical supplies. While these are invaluable, even the most dedicated Prepper generally forgets one crucial piece of survival gear - the Important Documents Emergency (BugOut) Binder; also referred to as "Life-In-A-Box".

The emergency binder is one of the most overlooked pieces of survival gear but it can make a huge difference in your ability to deal with an emergency if you need to quickly evacuate your home.

Unfortunately, most people don't know what an emergency binder is nor what should be inside it. Luckily, we're here to walk you through the ins-and-outs of emergency binder preparedness. That way in case of an emergency, you have all you need in an easy "grab and go" binder!

What is an Emergency Binder?

Turns out, it's actually quite simple - an emergency binder contains copies of all your important documents, like your ID, passport, and health insurance information. It's a nifty resource to keep all of your important documents in one place, so you can access them quickly and efficiently. It should be part of your overall survival kit, close to your bug out bag or stored in a safe place.

Why have an Emergency Binder?

Although they're quite simple, emergency binders are incredibly important in any situation where you need to quickly evacuate your home.

Particularly if your home is threatened by a natural disaster (think hurricane, wildfire, flood, etc.), there's a chance that your personal possessions may not survive. While our number one priority is always the safety of ourselves, our family, and our friends, the loss of material goods is still difficult.

Although we can replace much, there are some things that we can’t risk losing, including our important documents.

Imagine this: one day your local authorities tell you that you have less than an hour to evacuate your home. A wildfire is rapidly approaching and devastation is inevitable. You load your family and pets into your car and drive off to a safe location. All good, right?

Well, not quite. Within a half hour of driving away, you notice that you forgot your wallet, which contains your ID and health insurance card. No big deal, you’ll sort it out once it’s all over, you say to yourself, and you manage just fine without it.

After a few weeks, though, you’re allowed to return to your home to survey the damage and make an insurance claim. Unfortunately, your proof of homeowner’s insurance and all your other important documents went up in flames.

Now, if you had an Emergency Binder with copies of all these documents in your bug out bag, this wouldn’t be a problem. Instead of worrying about how you’ll prove that you even had fire insurance, you can get right to making a claim and restarting your life.

If you think this is all a bit far-fetched, then consider what happened after Hurricane Katrina. Millions of people evacuated their homes and left behind their possessions to take refuge in emergency shelters.

Countless people left their homes without grabbing their ID or other documents. Thus, they had no way of proving their identity, accessing their bank accounts, or proving they had health insurance.

Emergency Binder Checklist

Unfortunately, you can't take everything in an emergency, so it's critical to have your most important documents with you in this bag. The following lists may help to identify "important" documents to save in an emergency.

It is recommended to keeping copies of documents in your binder and store originals in a fireproof safe that is not easy to reach during an emergency.

Personal and Legal Documents
Contact Information (create a handy 1 page sheet with this information)
Alternative Checklist: Documents To Organize and Share

It's important to include documents for every member of the family. You only need to have copies of these items in your emergency binder.

It's recommended to keep the originals in a separate fireproof box so you'll always have either the copies or the originals, in two separate locations, in an emergency.

Keep originals of passport and driver license with you in case you need to travel or present official identification.

Paper documents should be converted to digital and saved on an encrypted USB flash drive as a backup and for easy transportation. This is no replacement for physical copies, especially during a blackout.

Important aspects of an Emergency Binder

Having your important documents organized and all in one place isn't terribly helpful if they get soaked in a flood or destroyed in a fire. The binder should be durable, fireproof, waterproof, and portable (easy to carry). It should also be sized properly for the quantity of important documents you have identified and accumulated. There are many options available on the market. Here are a few:

Avlone Fireproof and Waterproof Bag

Fireproof and Waterproof Money and Important Documents Bag, Black, Size No Size Fireproof and Waterproof Money and Important Documents Bag, Black, Size No Size
  • WHILE OTHER FIREPROOF DOCUMENT BAGS won’t survive a real fire, smell like chemicals or they are just very flimsy ripping apart easily, the Avlone Fireproof Bag has been TESTED & PASSED the 1000° F...
  • YOU ARE ENTERING A STRESS-FREE ZONE – You want to SAFELY STORE all your important documents at home, TRAVEL with peace of mind regarding your passports & insurances or just PROTECT all your jewelry,...
  • OUR MISSION IS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASY & SAFE – We are a family-owned business based in New York and we use our home & office products every day. That’s why our large fireproof bags feature...
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This bag from Avlone provides both fire and water protection for your important documents. It features a double closure for the perfect seal, so you can rest assured that your documents will be okay. Plus, it’s got plenty of storage space (15 x 11 x 2.5 inch) and has a carry handle for quickly grabbing on-the-go.

Good Stuff Fireproof Bag

Fireproof Document Bag Legal Size: 11' x 15' Fire Proof Bag with Waterproof Coating to Protect... Fireproof Document Bag Legal Size: 11" x 15" Fire Proof Bag with Waterproof Coating to Protect...
  • This legal sized fireproof bag for documents keeps all your important papers safe!
  • According to Fire 9 Prevention, an average house fire ranges between 1500℉ to 1800℉. Rated at 2000℉ these fire proof containers for documents are certified to protect your valuables!
  • Choose The Good Stuff fireproof document bag, and be certain that your documents are protected from fire and water!

The Good Stuff Fireproof Bag provides the ultimate protection for your documents (15 x 11 inch). Designed to be both fire and water proof and able to withstand a fire as hot as 2000°F, this bag from Good Stuff is no joke when it comes to protecting your documents.

ENGPOW File Storage Bag

ENGPOW File Storage Bags,Fireproof Document Organizer Bag with Money Bag,Home Office Travel Safe Bag... ENGPOW File Storage Bags,Fireproof Document Organizer Bag with Money Bag,Home Office Travel Safe Bag...
  • FILE STORAGE BAG SET: The fireproof documents organizer includes a fireproof file storage bag with lock,a fireproof money bag with two pockets,a lock manual.
  • FIREPROOF AND WATER-RESISTANT SAFE: Fireproof file storage bag set are made of double layered non-itchy silicone coated fiberglass which stands up the temperature up to 2000℉.They have been passed...
  • LARGE CAPACITY: 14.2*10.6*4 inches large fireproof file bag has three-layer of design.This includes 4 passport mesh bags, 16 card slots, 4 U Disk pockets, 7 folder layers and one main pocket with a...
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Kofair Fireproof Bag

KOFAIR Large Fireproof Bag (16 x 12 x 5.5 inches), XL Fireproof Document Bags with 100% Opening &... KOFAIR Large Fireproof Bag (16 x 12 x 5.5 inches), XL Fireproof Document Bags with 100% Opening &...
  • [SILICONE COATED - FIREPROOF & WATER RESISTANT]: With Dual-layered FIBERGLASS, our Fireproof Safe Bag can withstand temperatures as high as 2000 °F (SGS Test Certified), which means SAFER - 1000 °F...
  • [100% USABLE SPACE: 16" x 12" x 5.5" + FOLDABLE DESIGN]: With 100% OPENING Design, we offer MORE USABLE SPACE than most of other bags. You can safely stow MORE VALUABLES, like money, jewelry,...
  • [LOCKABLE ZIPPER + WIDER HOOK & LOOP CLOSURE]: The BRAND ZIPPER can be LOCKED together with a combination lock for additional safety (Lock is not included). Meanwhile, the width of the HOOK & LOOP...
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The Kofair document bag is larger than the previous three (16 x 12 x 5.5 inch) and includes a handy shoulder strap in addition to the standard handle.  Able to resist heat up to 2000°F, this bag is ideal for those with lots of information that you need to keep readily available.  With 5 inches of width, this bag is ideal for those looking to store 3 ring binders in a fire resistant bag.

Safely Storing an Emergency Binder

After collecting documents in one place, you'll need somewhere to store them. In addition to having your documents in a fireproof and waterproof bag, you might consider placing them in a fireproof safe.

A fireproof safe offers yet another layer of fire protection and keeps documents protected during a robbery.

It's also worth considering keeping two emergency binders, just in case you can't get to your home before needing to evacuate. Your car is a decent option but does come with a bit of a higher risk of being stolen.

Consider opening a safe deposit box. That way, if your home is destroyed, you might still be able to access your documents elsewhere. It's worth noting that safe deposit boxes are not FDIC insured, so be sure to only keep copies in a safe deposit box, just in case.

Don't Leave Home Without These Essential Documents
How to Organize Critical Documents for Emergency Evacuation