September is National Emergency Preparedness month.
Disaster prep isn’t a sexy topic. Most folks would rather not think about it and just assume that things will always be ok and that if there is a problem, well, help will be available. But if you look at recent history, we see many examples of disasters that have caused significant problems in peoples lives. Of course there are the really “big” events like Hurricane Katrina & Super Storm Sandy, but there have also been a host of “smaller” disasters (although not small to those involved). In the last 5 years we’ve seen tornados that have ripped apart towns and ice storms have stopped traffic stranding people for a day. Flooding, hurricanes, blizzards and wildfires have all caused evacuations. Even something as personal as a house fire can uproot your family on a moments notice.
I realize these events feel like they are unlikely. . . mostly because we really, really don’t want them to be likely. However, if you actually start looking around, you realize that there is a decent chance that YOU will have to deal with some kind of emergency at least once during your lifetime.
Personally I’ve lived through a couple of hurricanes, at least one blizzard and two floods in my current town that caused people two roads over from me to have to evacuate their homes. We’ve been extremely blessed that thus far the most damage we’ve sustained is losing an entire upright freezer full of meat, a couple of days worth of power outages and having several trees come down close enough to the house to make you sweat. But I don’t count on my luck always being that good. I’d rather be prepared and not need it, than be unprepared and really wish I had done more.
Because of all these things, and in honor of National Emergency Preparedness Month for today’s Free Resource Friday I’m sharing a free, printable “Grab & Go Documentation Binder” by Simply Prepared.
I know it sounds a bit weird to be worried about documentation when you are being evacuated ahead of a raging wildfire, or as your house is starting to fill with water. That’s the point–during an actual evacuation you’ll be more worried about your family’s immediate needs than what documents you may need in the aftermath of whatever is happening. You aren’t likely to be thinking “gee, I wonder if I should make sure I have all the account numbers and passwords for our banking” or “What’s the policy number on our homeowner’s insurance again?”. And for sure, if you somehow get separated from one of your children, you’d hate to be caught without photos to share with the police.
Think I’m over emphasizing it? Well FEMA doesn’t. They have a three page pdf article on protecting your critical documents and articles. Even the Department of Homeland Security talks about the importance of having documentation in an emergency.
Here’s an easy way to start gathering all the necessary information together–use these FREE printable Grab and Go binder pages from Simply Prepared. She’s got a nice intro page that explains how to fill out the binder forms, do fingerprints and more, then the actual printables include sheets for the following:
- Document Checklist
- Evacuation Checklist (includes a good list of things to do before you leave and even a place to list family meeting places)
- Family and Friends Phone Numbers
- Emergency Phone Numbers (includes some you may not think of but may need, like the water/sewer company and Animal Control)
- Utility Providers Numbers
- Financial Numbers
- Insurance Provider Numbers
- Medical Provider Numbers
- Child ID Kit (with place for photo, fingerprints, identification info, medical info and more)
- Adult ID Kit
- Pet ID Kit
- First Aid Quick Guide
- Password Tracker
So head on over to Simply Prepared (Your Home Store) to get your copy of the Simply Prepared Grab and Go Binder. It’s free, you don’t even have to sign up with an email to download it–just click on “Download your 15 pages now”. If you do sign up with your email, the page states there are additional items that will be sent to you.