How to Make an Emergency Binder

A grab & go binder is a family emergency folder that contains copies of your essential documents, records, and emergency plans. It’s geared toward managing your family in case of an emergency and giving you important information when you need it.

Grab & Go Binder
Wise Rules to Follow

If you have decided to get to work making the physical form of your emergency binder, here are a few safe rules to keep in mind.

  • Include only copies and keep all originals inside a safe or other safe place. Never leave home with originals if you can help it. In most cases, it’s the information on the documents that will help you, and that is why digital is an option.
  • Exceptions: your license, credit cards, and other obvious items.
  • Keep in mind that for legal documents like Wills and Power of Attorney, etc., there are instances where the originals will need to be used and copies will not do.
  • It’s your call as to whether you want to place the originals inside your grab and go binder. If you do, keep a copy of the documents inside a safe or another safe location.
Grab & Go
Grab & Go Binder

Emergency Binder Categories

documents & records | ID kits for each family member | various family emergency plans

Decide now which type of binder you'd like to create: physical, thumb drive, or cloud-based. The following is the information that is included, regardless of which type you choose. A PDF printable is available at the bottom of this page.

Emergency Binder Categories

Binders include documents & records, ID kits, and other various family emergency plans.

Decide now which type of binder you'd like to create: physical, thumb drive, or cloud-based. The following is the information that is included, regardless of which type you choose. A PDF printable is available at the bottom of this page.

Documents & Records


Include institution names, account numbers, contact numbers, websites, and online passwords.

  • checking
  • savings
  • credit cards
  • debit cards
  • safety deposit
  • 401K
  • retirement
  • stocks/bonds/mutual funds
  • other investments
  • last 3 years of tax filings/returns

Insurance Policies with ID Cards

  • homeowners
  • auto
  • life
  • medical
  • dental

Medical & Health

  • insurance card
  • allergies/dietary restrictions
  • medical/surgical treatments
  • list of current medications
  • copies of prescriptions
  • immunization record


  • general power of attorney
  • medical power of attorney
  • durable power of attorney
  • limited power of attorney
  • springing power of attorney
  • advanced healthcare directives
  • will and codicil
  • trust and amendments
  • contact info for those mentioned

Identifying Records, Certificates, & Documents

  • birth certificate
  • death certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • divorce record
  • prenuptial / postnuptial
  • child custody agreement
  • social security card
  • passport
  • driver’s License
  • state issued ID card
  • military
  • adoption/foster
  • naturalization/immigration
  • church documents
  • utility bill as proof of residency


  • original sales appraisal & contract
  • home sale worksheet
  • real estate purchase agreement
  • home deed
  • warrantee contracts
  • property tax statements
  • memorandum of land contract
  • home inventory list with photos


  • car sale contract
  • certificate title / pink slip
  • vehicle lease agreement
  • trade-in vehicle title


  • bill of sale
  • operator’s license
  • franchise agreement
  • property title

School / Employment

  • diplomas
  • transcripts
  • certificates
  • contracts

Pet Info Packet

This is a copy of information assigned to your pet's grab & go bag and includes the description of each pet, vet contact information, important medical records, photos of you with your pet, and more. This can be critical if you become separated from your pet after evacuation and need to prove ownership. See instructions for how to create a pet info packet.


Create a digital backup of your photos and add it to your physical binder inside an evelope or as an addition to your thumb drive. If you have a cloud account, this is an excellent place to put digital copies.

Other ways to protect digital copies or originals include:

  • fireproof safe
  • safety deposit box

Utility Account Numbers

If you need to contact one of your utility companies after a fire or other evacuation, you will be able to identify yourself with your account number.

  • electricity
  • water
  • gas
  • trash & recycling
  • satellite/cable
  • streaming services
  • internet provider
  • landline/cell

Phone Numbers

Phone numbers in written form are important in case you can't get in to your cell phone.

  • family
  • friends
  • neighbors
  • church
  • child's school
  • child's friends

Phone Numbers in Case of Emergency

  • police non-emergency for your area
  • poison control: 800-222-1222
  • 24-hour nurse line
  • 24-hour pediatric nurse line
  • gas company
  • electric company
  • water/sewer company
  • road conditions
  • plummer
  • internet provider
  • landlord
  • primary care physician
  • pediatrician
  • dentist
  • pharmacy
  • veterinarian

Identification Kits

ID Kits

ID kits can be used to help identify family members. The main purpose of these kits is to have vital information readily available in case of an emergency.

Primarily intended for children, the National Child Identification Program ID kit enables parents to gather crucial details. These kits facilitate the straightforward documentation of a child’s physical attributes, fingerprints, and DNA on identification cards, which are subsequently stored at the parent or guardian’s home. Though intended for children, they can be used for any family member of any age. The price is under $10 per kit.

Learn more about the National Child Identification Program ID Kit system. Once you have completed each ID kit, be sure to add a copy to your grab & go binder.

Family Emergency Plans

Emergency Plans

Your grab & go binder is the perfect place to put your printed copies of your family emergency plans. An additional, easy to access copy of all plans should be kept elsewhere in your house as well.

If you have chosen to create the digital binder, be sure to include printed copies of all your emergency plans. To see the full list of plans included on this website, visit How to make emergency plans and click on each plan for more information or see the main menu bar entitled Emergency Planning.

Download Grab & Go Binder Contents PDF