What You Can Do
Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed
Prepare for an
Emergency Medical Supplies | Meeting Points
Personal Support Network
| Know Your Neighbors
or People with Disabilities
Toddlers, and Children
Pets / Livestock
Prepare for an
In an emergency, response agencies and public health
departments will be managing the crisis and will rely on the public to
follow emergency instructions and react quickly.
Some ways you can prepare for an emergency are:
Know where and how to get information in the event of
an emergency. Have at least one battery-operated radio in case there
is a power failure.
Make a disaster kit. A disaster supplies kit has basic
items that members of a household may need in the event of a disaster.
Supplies such as food and water should last for at least three days.
Be sure your family’s vaccinations are up to date,
including vaccinations against pneumonia for older family members.
Check with your medical provider if you are unsure.
Don’t immediately leave home if there is an
emergency. Sometimes it is safer to stay where you are. Listen to the
radio or television for instructions.
Be aware of neighbors, friends or relatives who may
need help during an emergency.
Have a plan for your family in the event of an
evacuation. Agree where to meet and what family members or friends to
notify. Know who will pick up children at school or daycare.
Keep children and pets indoors after an emergency.
Dangers such as live wires, flooded viaducts and pollution can remain
long after the immediate emergency ends.
Familiarize yourself with school or daycare emergency
procedures. In the event of an emergency, know where children will be
Be alert for environmental or fire hazards around your
Every adult in your house should know how to turn off
electricity, water and gas in an emergency.
Have a fire extinguisher and know how and when to use
it. Check the expiration date to be sure it is working. If you have
questions, ask your local fire department.
Take a CPR and first-aid class so you know what to do
in an emergency. Your local health department or Red Cross office can
give you more information.
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Medical Emergency Supplies
For safety and comfort, persons with special needs should
have emergency supplies packed and ready in one place before a disaster
hits. Assemble enough supplies to last at least three days.
Assemble the medical and general supplies you would
need in an evacuation, including prescription medication (check
Store them in an easy-to-carry container, such as a
backpack or duffel bag.
Be sure your bag has an ID tag.
Label any equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes or
walkers that you would need.
After an Emergency Occurs
During and after an emergency it is important to stay
calm. Even after an event, there may still be many dangers. What seems
like a safe distance or location may not be. Stay tuned to your local
emergency station and follow the advice of trained professionals. Unless
told to evacuate, stay off the roads to allow emergency vehicles access.
What you do next can save your life and the lives of others.
Remain calm and assist family members or neighbors who
may be vulnerable if exposed to extreme heat or cold.
Locate a flashlight with batteries to use until power
comes back on. Do not use candles — this can cause a fire.
Turn off sensitive electrical equipment such as
computers, VCRs and televisions to prevent damage when electricity is
Turn off major electrical and gas appliances that were
on when the power went off. This will help to prevent power surges
when electricity is restored.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as
much as possible to keep in cold.
Do not use the stove to heat your home — this can
cause a fire or fatal gas leak.
If you must drive, use extreme caution. If traffic
signals are out, treat each signal as a stop sign — come to a
complete stop at every intersection and look before you proceed.
Do not call 911 to ask about a power outage. In case
of a power outage, use battery-operated equipment or your car radio
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After a disaster it may be impossible for family members
to return home. It is very important that you select a meeting point in
the community where you can join the members of your household.
Elderly or People with Disabilities
An elderly person or a person with disabilities may face
challenges if an emergency strikes. If you learn about the challenges that
you may face and are prepared ahead of time, you will be better able to
cope with the disaster and recover more quickly.
Personal Support Network
The best way to prepare is to establish a personal support
network. A personal support network is made up of individuals who will
check with you in an emergency to ensure you are OK and to give assistance
if needed. This network can consist of friends, roommates, family members,
relatives, personal attendants, co-workers and neighbors.
You and your personal support network should notify each
other when you are going out of town and when you will return, and learn
about each other’s needs and how to help each other in an emergency. You
could be responsible for food supplies and preparation, organizing
neighborhood watch meetings, interpreting, etc.
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Working with neighbors in an emergency can save lives and
property. Meet with your neighbors to plan how you could work together
until help arrives. If you’re a member of a neighborhood organization,
such as a home association or crime watch group, introduce emergency
preparedness as a new activity. Know your neighbors’ special skills and
consider how you could help those with special needs, such as people with
disabilities and elderly persons.
Infants, Toddlers, and Children
Infants and children require special attention immediately
Your emergency supplies should include enough baby
formula, baby food, diapers, bottles, toys and games to keep small
infants safe and comfortable at least three days after a disaster.
If children are at preschool, daycare or school, it is
important that parents or guardians know the emergency procedures of
the school. Review and update information on your child’s emergency
Make sure you authorize someone nearby to pick up your
children from school in case you are unable to travel to the school
after a disaster.
Parents should inform neighbors when their children
are home alone so neighbors can take care of them in the event of a
Effective ways to deal with children after an emergency
Encourage children to talk about their fears. Let them
ask questions and describe how they're feeling. Listen to what they
say, as a family group, when possible.
Reassure them with love. Tell them they are safe,
everything will be all right, and life will return to normal again.
Keep them informed, in simple language, about what is
Emphasize that they are not responsible for what
Hold and hug them frequently.
Encourage them to return to school and discuss
problems with teachers and to resume playing games, riding bikes and
other such activities.
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Pets or Livestock
When preparing for a potential emergency, don’t forget
to include pets and livestock. Here are some ideas for preparing to
protect your animals during a disaster:
Talk to your veterinarian about evacuation and
emergency care for your animals.
Identify an emergency animal shelter location nearby:
kennels, adjoining farms, state and local fairgrounds, etc.
Get to know the policies and staff of your local
animal control authority, as well as the local animal non-profit
rescue and care groups.
Ask neighbors and friends to evacuate your animals if
a disaster strikes when you are away.
License your companion animals; make sure your animals
can be easily identified so they can be reunited with you after a
disaster; and keep all vaccinations current. Take pictures of you with
your animal(s) to show proof of ownership if you are separated during
Have copies of medical records for your pets and
Prepare an evacuation plan for livestock. Your plan
should include a list of resources such as trucks, trailers, pasture
and/or feed which might be needed in an evacuation, as well as a
designated person who will unlock gates and doors and make your
facility easily accessible to emergency personnel. Make sure that
everyone who lives, works or boards livestock at your farm is familiar
with the plan.
If you must leave animals behind, post a highly
visible sign (either on a window or a door) letting rescue workers
know the breed and number of animals which remain. Leave plenty of
food and water.
If your animal becomes lost, immediately call or visit
the nearest animal shelter or emergency command post. If you find a
lost animal, notify the local animal shelter as soon as possible and
be prepared to give a full description of the animal (i.e., color,
breed, sex) and its location.
Last Revised: July 27, 2011