Vital records are records of any important, valuable, irreplaceable or cherished papers, pictures and statements.  These records should be compiled together in a notebook and kept with you 72 hour emergency flight kit in a waterproof container.  We recommend storing the originals in your emergency binder and store photocopies of them in a filing cabinet, and also scan a digital copy and give it to a trusted friend, put it in a safe deposit box or store in a fire-proof, off site / water-proof locked box.  If your house burned down or was flooded it would be comforting to know that you don’t have to go through the hassle of replacing those documents.
Take an inventory of your home, garage, premises and place of business, making a written itemized list of the contents you want to include.  Include serial numbers, make, model numbers, physical descriptions, where and when purchased, purchase price, current estimated value and a photograph in their normal locations.  Attach receipts if you have them.

Reference:  72-Hour Emergency Kit by Barry Crockett

What should I include in my Emergency Binder?
A Family picture (mark on back descriptions of each person)
Academic grades and transcripts
Appliance list (see above)
Bank information and bank statements
Birth Certificate
Business files and licenses
Cash – keep a variety of small bills and coins on hand
Copies of important contracts, certificates, funds
Credit card copies front and back
Deeds and Titles
Driver License
Family or Personal Disaster Action Plan
Financial account numbers and portfolios / Stocks
Identification and legal papers – Utility Statements
Immunization records (make sure your tetanus shot is up-to-date)
Important Family photos
Insurance policies
Legal documents – Trust Documents
Letter of Instructions – in case of death – Wills
Internet passwords /account numbers / Website Address Information
Marriage Certificate / License
Mortgage / Property Records
Motor Vehicle Titles / Bill of Sale (VIN number, Registration card, License Plate Numbers)
Phone number and address (Include in a Communication Section a complete list)
Retirement statements
Social Security card
Special family photos
Tax documents that would be hard to replace

Helpful Hints for Your Vital Records Binder

  1. Use a 2 to 3 inch Binder. Any color will do.  You may want to choose one that has an outer cover pocket holder for your cover sheet.
  2. Buy some dividers – Choose numbered tabs or blank to write on. Colored tabs help you divide your binder easily.  Hint:  If you purchase dividers with pockets, they will help you store the smaller items.
  3. Make two copies of all original documents, policies, etc. with the names, addresses of companies and numbers.  Place one of the copies in your file cabinet and give a copy to a trusted family member or friend.
  4. Store originals in your binder in sheet protectors then store in a fireproof box or in a bank safety deposit box.
  5. You can make a back up copy of your documents and pictures on a disk or memory card and place in your binder.
  6. Use a table of contents and/or write on the divider tabs.
  7. Everyone’s binder will be different and will grow as you “grow”.
  8. Have a Family Home Evening with your binder.  Go over the contents with every family member and make sure they understand the contents.  Make sure each family member knows where the original binder will be kept, where the copies are in your home and which family member or friend has the copies
  9. Write your own Obituary (This is not a subject we like to think about but it could be fun and you can include the information you would want to be read about yourself!!)
  10. Make your own funeral arrangements (Again, this is not a subject we like to think about but we can save our family a lot of grief if we do most to the work for them and we can have the funeral the way we would like it to be.)

REMEMBER:  Anything you feel is of importance can be includedVital Records Notebook
in this binder!  There is never too much information!!
To help with your organization, download this Vital Records pdf.

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