Your Emergency Plan is a personal guide for what you will do in case of an emergency. You should know exit routes out of your home, and safe manageable routes to local disaster shelters or your designated safety spot. Plan in advance with your family where you will meet in a time of crisis if separated, and make an updated list of contact information for everyone. Remember that phone lines may not necessarily work, so plan in case you can’t contact your family and friends immediately. A personal support network of people who know your specific needs (medications, allergies) is also important, especially for those with mobility issues or special care needs. If you have care needs, plan in advance with your support network for them check up on you in the time of a major emergency.
During a time of emergency it’s important to be able to sustain yourself for at least 72 hours without access to regular support. Preparing an emergency kit or “go kit” full of supplies to get you through the first three days of a crisis is an important part of your emergency plan. When asking yourself what to put in your go kit, ask yourself what you need to sustain you, and your family members (pets and service animals included) for 72 hours. Factor in weight, because a go kit is supposed to be mobile with you, most easily carried on your back in a backpack.
Personal Go Kit
Water (2 liters a day per person, plus extra for cooking and cleaning)
Food (choose items that won’t spoil, like canned goods or granola bars, include can openers and anything needed to eat)
First Aid Kit
Medication/Vitamin Supplements/Prescription Glasses/Assistive Equipment (such as hearing aids)
Extra Keys to House/Car
Money (small bills and change)
Batteries (including an extra fully charged cell phone battery)
Personal Hygiene Products (toothbrush, toilet paper, deodorant, etc.)
Updated photos of family members and pets (place these in a waterproof bag)
Photocopies of important documents (place these in a waterproof bag)
Pen and Paper
Change of Clothes/Shoes
Your Pick (Whatever you need to make surviving a little easier that can fit in your bag and won’t uncomfortably weigh you down.)
Remember to prepare go kits for your pets as well, because it can take just as long for support to get to them, and domesticated animals can’t fend for themselves alone. If you have horses or other large animals, arrange safe locations they can be moved to, and people who can help with that. Include your pets in your emergency plan, and practice quickly and calmly getting them leashed, harnessed, and/or put in a carrier for travel.
Pet/Service Animal Go Kit
Water (2 liter for dogs, 1 liter for cats per day)
Food (enough meals to last at least 3 days)
Carrier (a safe sturdy carrier provides a mobile home)
Copies of vet records/vaccination history
Hygiene Products (paper towels, etc.)
Identification (for service animals, licensing and registration numbers too)
Portable Litter Kit/Baggies/Fresh Bedding
Your Pick (That extra tennis ball or chewy mouse toy to make your friend feel at ease.)
If during your day you have special extra needs that need to be met, such as mobility or life aids, these should be available and easily accessible for when you or a support aid need to grab them. If you have a vehicle, putting together an emergency vehicle kit is also important. It should contain all weather supplies, including a spare tire and basic necessities to help manage your vehicle in the time of a crisis.
Creating a written information list can help emergency responders aid you in a crisis, and can also help you remember critical information during very stressful moments. Write out all pertinent information about you, such as your contact information, allergies, medical needs, health card information, licensing, and contacts for care workers if you have them. If you’re preparing for children or pets do the same for them, including schools, babysitters, vets, and people who have planned to offer help. Write out the contact information and addresses of friends and family, plus the routes and information for shelters and medical facilities in case of a disaster. Keep copies of this in your go kit and wallet just in case you need them.
The idea of an emergency that could keep you out of your home or away from support systems at length is a scary prospect, and that is why it is important to be prepared.