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Things to Consider in Emergency Preparedness Planning

Courtesy of the American Red Cross

Daily Living

  • Personal Care: Do you regularly need assistance with personal care, such as bathing and grooming? Do you use adaptive equipment to help you get dressed?
  • Prescriptions: Do you have enough of your prescriptions to last a few days if you can’t get to the pharmacy? Do you have a copy of your prescription in the event you can’t get to your normal pharmacy?
  • Water Service: What will you do if water service is cut off for several days or if you are unable to heat water?
  • Personal Care Equipment: Do you use a shower chair, tub-transfer bench or other similar equipment?
  • Adaptive Feeding Devices: Do you use special utensils that help you prepare or eat food independently?
  • Electricity-Dependent Equipment: How will you continue to use equipment that runs on electricity, such as dialysis, electrical lifts, etc.? Do you have a safe back-up power supply and how long will it last?

Getting Around

  • Disaster Debris: How will you cope with the debris in your home or along your planned exit route following the disaster?
  • Transportation: Do you need a specially equipped vehicle or accessible transportation?
  • Errands: Do you need help to get groceries, medications and medical supplies? What if your caregiver cannot reach you because roads are blocked or the disaster has affected them as well?


  • Building Evacuation: Do you need help to leave your home or office? Can you reach and activate an alarm? Will you be able to evacuate independently without relying on auditory cues (such as noise from a machine near the stairs – these cues may be absent if the electricity is off or alarms are sounding)?
  • Building Exits: Are there other exits (stairs, windows or ramps) if the elevator is not working or cannot be used? Can you read emergency signs in print or Braille? Do emergency alarms have audible and visible features (marking escape routes and exits) that will work even if electrical service is disrupted?
  • Getting Help: How will you call or summon for the help you will need to leave the building? Do you know the locations of text telephones and phones that have amplification? Will your hearing aids work if they get wet from emergency sprinklers? Have you determined how to communicate with emergency personnel if you don’t have an interpreter, your hearing aids aren’t working, or if you don’t have a word board or other augmentative communication device?
  • Mobility Aids / Ramp Access: What will you do if you can’t find your mobility aids? What will you do if your ramps are shaken loose or become separated from the building?
  • Service Animals/Pets: Will you be able to care for your animal (provide food, shelter, veterinary attention, etc.) during and after a disaster? Do you have another caregiver for your animal if you are unable to meet its needs? Do you have the appropriate licenses for your service animal so you’ll be permitted to keep it with you should you need or choose to use an emergency public shelter?