Disaster Preparedness Binder for evacuation

Disaster Preparedness Binder

Disaster Preparedness Binder for evacuation

Evacuate! – Are you ready?

The knock comes at your front door. A fireman tells you that you have 20 minutes to evacuate. The wild fire has been burning for several hours now and is headed your way. Panic sets in. What should you take with you? What should you do next?

A disaster preparedness binder will help!

Fires, floods, hurricanes, the list goes on. At a moments notice you may have to leave your home and everything in it that you hold dear. Do you know what you will take with you in the minutes that you have? Are there other things to quickly attend to?

You may be thinking, “Well, I know what to do, I know what to take.” Do you?

What if a degree of panic sets in during an intense time of stress and crisis? Will you be able to think clearly? Remembering everything in the limited amount of time before evacuating your home?

What if you’re not home? What if the only one at home is your spouse, who, lets say, isn’t as into preparedness as you are, or perhaps just your children? Will they know what to do?


Disaster Preparedness Binder
– Instructions, Actions, Information

If you have everything written down, things will go smoother. I prefer the idea of a binder because editing, making changes, and adding pages is easier.

The more detailed you can be in your binder, the better for everyone involved.


For example, Gas Shutoff Valve

If the gas to the house ever needed to be turned off, pictures as well as step by step instructions would be the best. Especially if you are concerned that your spouse or kids may be at home by themselves and have to deal with it. I would insert a picture of the valve itself, along with the proper tool to use. Having the right tool is very important – gas valves are hard to turn. Leave the tool right at the gas meter /valve unit itself so you don’t have to scramble looking for it.

Emergency Shut-off Wrench

Same detail may be important for Water Shutoff, Electricity, whatever else…


Some information to put in your binder:

How to turn off the gas to your house.
How to turn off the water to your house.
Turn off the electricity.
A list of items to take with you.

A list of contact information including:
– Family and friends
– Insurance companies (home, auto)
– Hotel information (pre-planned evacuation stay)
– Your Doctor info
– Pet vaccinations (some hotels require it)

Smart Phone Side note: Today’s contact information is largely kept in our smart phones. Not too many people have a written record of all this data anymore. In a power down-situation, you will not have access to this information after your batteries have run down. It’s always good to keep hard copies of important documentation in a disaster preparedness binder!

2 Great Ways How to Charge Your Phone When the Power is Out

How to Keep Your Cell Phone Charged During a Power Outage


Pre Determined Hotel Destination

The list of contact information and emergency phone numbers should include a pre-determined hotel destination (keep several destination scenarios). Depending on the evacuation, hotels will book fast! If you have a short list of hotels (with phone numbers) hinged on different perimeters from your own home, life may be easier. Of course heading to family or friends house may be cheaper!

The Best Route To Bug Out Or Get Back Home

A point of contact

Do you have a designated or preferred contact person? In a large scale emergency you may have trouble with communications – especially if the power goes out or it’s a big disaster. On the chance that you are able to get a call through, who would you call first? The idea is to call one person following a major disaster, say a relative living outside of your regional area. This way, other family members or members of your group would know to call that point-of-contact to get updated information or visa-versa.

Evacuation List

An evacuation list – It is imperative to think about and document your list ahead of time. It will help insure that you will take what you consider to be irreplaceable as well as the other things you’ll need for your survival.

Some people keep a ‘bug-out-bag’ at the ready. If you already have a 72-hour kit in your vehicle (which you should), then your short term food and water needs will be met and you can concentrate on any other items that you want to take with you.

Read more: 72-hour Emergency Kit

Take some time and think about it, write it down, and their locations – so you can quickly go get what you need when the time comes.

The point to all this is to write things down in a disaster preparedness binder. This will accomplish several things.

First, it will cause you to think about what you would do in an impending disaster or evacuation. Most people have never even thought about it whatsoever.

Second, having written down the process, you will have ready and detailed instructions assuring that you will not forget anything that you have considered important actions.

Third, A disaster preparedness binder will be different for everyone because it requires your own personal thoughts, requirements, and will vary depending on your regional risk factors and the physical aspect of where you live.

Continue reading: Emergency Documentation To Keep In 72 Hour Kit

Related: Hurricane Preparedness List & Tips


  1. I know what to do, and take, but most wont agree
    Being a homeless refugee isnt worth it

    1. Does that mean I should have my set of NASCAR collectible dinner plates packed up and ready ahead of time?

  2. Having lived here in the Keys for the last 50+ years (a New Englander born & raised), I’ve ridden out every Hurricane to come through, and plan to continue doing so. We batten down the hatches and hunker down.
    Then we clean up, rebuild, and go on with our lives.
    The thought of ‘evacuating’ is not in our realm of thinking.
    The Military Credo: ‘Accept, Adapt, Overcome’.

  3. We use BO boxes. Everyone has a 25 gal Rubbermaid tote premade for personal items and we have 3 more with the essentials.(food,documents and medical). Grab the contents in the safe and all will fit in either vehicle in under 5 mins.

    Had the fire issue hit to close to home a few years ago. We spent all afternoon and evening discing the land around my friend moms house as we could see the flames less than 1 mile away. Filled all the water spray tanks and moved all the livestock. Thank goodness the wind shifted as all we lost was sweat and time.

    After that experience I built the BO box. You may also consider these if you live downwind of a known chemical truck route.

  4. Good idea about your hard copies binder including a list of contact numbers from your phone… in case your battery goes flat, or you lose your phone, etc.
    Maybe also have some password hints, important addresses, account numbers…

  5. When I train a new licensed RN in my facility, I have been giving them a binder with plastic page protecters in which to place important information and how-to lists for use within our facility.

    How they set it up is up to them and most that stick around find it helpful in the event your smartphone stops working or the in-hospital grid goes down. ( hey- it still happens.).

    I usually wait after the first week to see if the new hire is going to work out prior to giving them this resource. Nursing is a very mobile career and some that orient with me move on quickly rather than stay and learn.

    1. I spoke of this in the open forum this weekend. I love my page protectors in the 3 ring binders. I have quite a few. I even cut out magazine articles that are useful and put in my page protectors as there is not need to keep the whole magazine for one useful article.

  6. Got THAT t-shirt last summer. Came through with a gold star.

    Seriously though, we developed a binder back in 2007 and update it annually, as things change we add to or reorganize the binder.

    This binder ALSO acts as a governance guide for SHTF in place. All invited members have read and agreed to basic ground rules and have also listed their talents and willingness for certain jobs upon arrival. Great way to know ahead of time WHO CAN do WHAT and why jobs would be assigned as they are. THIS too changes annually, and so gets updated as changes happen, but NOT LESS than once per year, usually over the 4th of July week,
    As usual, Ken, great article and one that assists in thinking it through.

    1. I like how you’ve added a ‘governance guide’ section for SHTF. That’s a great way to force you to think about it and make some decisions in that regard.

  7. I might suggest adding a copy of all your documentation to this ‘Grab and Go’ Binder; if you don’t already have them in your BOB or Go-Bag.

    Photocopies of everything from your Passport, credit cards, insurance cards and so-on, more than likely you will have most in your wallet or purse, but how about Vehicle Titles/Registrations and Land Deeds? One might also add a few photos of your Family in case you get separated, don’t forget about some of your pets and maybe Livestock.

    Obviously you will want to keep this Binder in a safe of very “locked up”, something else you might add, a few hundred/thousand dollars for use, if the power is out, how you going to buy more gas or pay for that Hotel Room?

    OK, one more for “Just Cause” a copy of your latest Electrical Bill and Water Bill. Yes many of times when reentering an area the LEO’s will require proof of residency including a property bill of some type.

    More on the list of things to do when leaving, take 5 seconds and walk the house taking as many pictures as you can, hundreds if you have time, even open the closets, cabinets, and dressers. Why???? Ever try to remember every item you have/had in your house if it’s a pile of ash or blown into a million pieces from a tornado?
    You WILL need those photos if you expect to recover ANY insurance claim. Even take pictures of the outside as you leave, and of anything in the yard, you have a Gym Set for the kids in the back yard? How many thousands did you pay for that, you want the insurance company to pay for it?

    Pictures are worth a thousand words, and are hard for an Insurance Co to deny. Remember when you make monthly payments to them they are your best friends, if you file a claim, they WILL be your worst nightmare and deny deny deny.

    1. Good advice,
      From having to deal with insurance companies, during the after math of hurricane Charlie. If I didn’t take pictures and Videos, like a good neighbor insurance. Would not cover a lot of things, took a law suit and several years to get them to cover contested claims.

      I still lost out on the interest on the loan I had to take out to cover the repairs.

      Which is a whole other topic. And is how I came to this website, being prepared is one side of the coin. What happens next is the other.

      With highest hopes that none of us will have to endure any of these.
      Be safe, be prepared.

      1. Good advice and thanks for sharing your real world experience regarding the need to photograph / video your possessions for insurance companies. Keep it in the cloud somewhere or on a thumbdrive attached to your keychain. Or in a good fireproof safe at home!

    2. Yes! We have done video’s of “stuff”. That way you can do a walk / and talk through of your belongings. We then sent a copy to our son who lives away from the coast.

      We’re only about 3 months away from the start of another hurricane season. Time and belongings do “fly” sometimes…

      luv ya’ll, Beach’n

      1. Beach’n;
        “We’re only about 3 months away from the start of another hurricane season.”
        That means only 4 months away from Mint Julep season….
        Seriously though, you be careful out there kido.
        One more thing, have you sent the son copies of the important paperwork? Does he have a key to the house and the combination to the safe where the Living Trust, Titles, and other paperwork is?

        1. NRP,
          Excellent thinking ol’ buddy! And yes he does!
          We’re not directly on the coast, but close enough. The people who really were hurt by Florence, were people who lived inland on rivers and creeks. Flooding was horrible for them. 24 (or more) inches of rain in 4 days is a lot! And the ground was already soaked.
          I thought it was always Julep season… :) (in case a box shows up that’s a smile)
          luv ya’ll, Beach’n

  8. Pictures are a great plan. Do include your tools along with serial numbers of the power tools. Differentiate between the good ones and the China-mart ones. Same for firearms as you might not be able to move all of them.

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