Creating a file full of information your family needs handy in an emergency is a beneficial way to lower the stress in a crisis. Here are a few of the critical papers you should include…
When our daughter Emily became sick and had to be hospitalized for weeks on end with family and friends stepping in to help care for the other 4 children, I realized how important having necessary information at your fingertips was to keeping the household running and managing the medical in our lives.
Read: Emily’s Story
Over the years, other medical emergencies have happened along with ongoing doctor’s visits and hospitalizations for our youngest daughter, Mercy; however, we have been much more prepared because of a file we keep called our Emergency Folder.
In this file is everything we need to make sure the home runs smoothly while we are away as well as creating a place to store important numbers and contacts.
Listen to the Raising Arrows Podcast Managing the Medical in Your Life
Supplies Needed to Set Up an Emergency File:
- A brightly colored file folder (easy to spot!)
- Paper & pen or a word processing program like Google Drive, Word, or Pages
Note: I do not recommend housing all the information solely on your computer. When a crisis strikes, you will want a hard copy in an easy-to-find place.
Documents to Put in Your Emergency Folder:
As I explain the individual documents and items we put into our emergency file, please remember these are not set in stone. Also, remember that while some things may seem redundant (like writing down phone numbers when you have them stored in your phone), when a crisis strikes, you will be glad you put everything in one place and so will anyone stepping in to help you.
1 – Important Numbers
Think about any doctors, hospitals, family members, and insurance phone numbers you might need in an emergency. You might also want to write down individual social security numbers (or at least know how to easily access these). Having these numbers all in one place isn’t just beneficial in a crisis, they make routine medical care wonderfully simple.
2 – Easy Meal Ideas + Grocery List
When our youngest was in the hospital for one of her surgeries and my father-in-law came down to help with the children, he was grateful I had a meal list and grocery list written out. Because I was able to plan ahead, I did the grocery shopping for him but had it been an emergency and I had not been able to shop, he would have easily been able to take the typed-out grocery list to the store and get what he needed to feed all the children at home.
Having this Easy Meal List and corresponding Grocery List makes it simple for you and anyone stepping in to help. It should be full of easy-to-make meals that your family likes. You might also include the recipes, even if they seem self-explanatory to you. For instance, nachos might mean one thing to your family and something completely different for a friend.
If you have an upcoming event that will take you away from your family (even something like morning sickness!), you can cut down on the stress by using your handy meal list. Likewise, if you can’t plan ahead, the meal list is already there. This has been a lifesaver for our large family more than once!
3 – Laundry Schedule (if you have one)
If you are a do-laundry-as-needed kind of person, then scratch this off your list, but in our household, laundry is its own athletic event! I have our typical laundry schedule included in the emergency folder so anyone coming in to help out can see how we manage it all. Let’s be honest, even though it is an everyday system in our household, we know our children will still have to be reminded to do their laundry chores. Make it easy for someone else (and your children) to follow!
Read: Large Family Laundry Routine >>
4 – Simple Daily Schedule
Don’t overthink this or put too many things into your daily schedule. This needs to be simple and barebones because when crisis hits, no one wants a big ole schedule to follow. Just give round-about times your family normally does things from wake up to meals to school and computer time. Jot down a simple schedule that keeps some normalcy in your home during an emergency.
Need help creating a simple schedule?
Check out my At A Glance Schedule!
5 – Chore Lists
Again, don’t overcomplicate this! I include our Morning Chores, Evening Chores, Weekly Cleaning Chores, and Table Chores. These are already quite simplified, so they are easy to follow. However, if you have a very in-depth chore routine that requires a lot of adult supervision and oversight, you should probably look for a simpler method to include in your emergency file – your family will thank you!
6 – Simplified Homeschool Schedule
I’ll be frank, when a crisis hits, school rarely happens. We homeschool year round, so it has never been a big issue to take a break during an emergency, but when baby Mercy was hospitalized for 6 weeks in NICU, I wanted the kids to do a little bit of school to stay up with things like math and reading. That’s where a school schedule is handy.
However, this should be a VERY simple schedule. Don’t include anything that is teacher-intensive or may end up tripping up the kids rather than helping them.
I would also think long and hard about having friends or family members homeschool your kids during an emergency. There’s enough stress to go around during a crisis without adding to it by requiring a bunch of school work.
Download my free mp3 Homeschooling During Crisis >>
7 – Anything else you think might be helpful
Some of this is a learning curve in which you learn what needs to be in your folder by experience. But, take some time to consider what you or others might find helpful that wasn’t mentioned above.
Here are a few ideas…
- list of medications
- list of allergies and what to do for allergic reactions
- where to find useful items in the house – toilet paper, medication, etc.
- email addresses
- passwords to important sites online
And remember to put your Emergency Folder in an easy-to-find place in your home. I recommend somewhere in the kitchen or office. Placing all the documents in a brightly colored folder will make it easy to spot in a hurry.
Hopefully, you will never need an Emergency Folder, but chances are you will, so being prepared will help you and those helping your family to take better care of everyone during a crisis!