Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Checklist

June 19, 2007 at 10:24 am  •  Posted in Family Safety by  •  0 Comments

By John D. Weaver, MSW, LCSW, BCD, ACSW, CBHE

Plans (Home, Work, School and Social-Recreation Sites)
Support Network / Resources / Contact Information
Ready Kits and Go Bags
Food and Food Preparation
Sheltering Items (Especially for Sheltering-in-Place or With Family / Friends / Neighbors
Health Conditions and Mobility
Cognitive / Developmental Changes
Sensory Issues
Service Animals
For More Information



The following is a checklist of emergency/disaster preparedness information that can be used to assess your current readiness and then plug gaps, to add greater depth to your planning process. The material is drawn together from information provided by the American Red Cross, FEMA, and the other organizations listed on the last page of this handout.

Plans (Home, Work, School, and Social-Recreation Sites)

Develop written emergency/disaster plans and assure these items are covered for all key locations (home, work, school, and favorite social-recreational sites):

? Working fire alarms, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors

? Evacuation plan with maps of escape routes from various locations in building

? Communication plan (cover both technology and rumor control)

? Transportation plan (e.g., from work or home to temporary shelter)

? Shelter plan (shelter-in-place, with family/friends/neighbors, or in public facilities)

? Pet-care plan (with pet ID, list of pet-friendly shelters, and alternate caregivers)

? Support network (three people in each location)

? Personal needs / personal care services plan

? Triple-depth redundancy on all plan elements (be able to fail them twice and still operate)

? Practice sessions (drill regularly)

Support Network / Resources / Contact Information

Develop lists with the following information and keep copies of them in several locations:

? Family (address, home phone, work phone, cell, pager, e-mail)

? Neighbors (address, home phone, work phone, cell, pager, e-mail)

? Utilities, local government, and landlord/homeowners associations (addresses, workday phone, after-hours/emergency phone, e-mail, and web sites)

? Professional and service contacts like doctors, lawyer, banks/credit unions, barber/hairdresser, electrician, plumber, auto repair shop, mortgage company, others you pay on credit basis, etc. (addresses, workday phone, after-hours/emergency phone, e-mail, and web sites)

? Peers (address, home phone, work phone, cell, pager, e-mail)

? Food places that do takeout and delivery (phone numbers and addresses)

? Coworkers and boss (address, home phone, work phone, cell, pager, e-mail)

? Program staff (personal and residential care, social/vocational, medical sites, etc. – managers need lists of all staff members and their emergency contact information)

Ready Kits and Go Bags

To be as prepared as possible, you will need to gather supplies and develop Ready Kits (essential needs for sheltering-in-place) and Go Bags (immediate-need items that you can grab and go) if an immediate emergency evacuation is needed. The Ready Kits are supposed to cover your family’s needs for three days, so they can get quite large and bulky. You may want to store them in several large, waterproof totes. The Go Bags (one for each family member) should be small and fit into a backpack, duffle, or rolling suitcase that you keep near the door. Here are some of the items to include:

Food and Food Preparation

? 3-day supply of non-perishable, fully cooked foods including meats, fruits, and vegetables – dried, freeze-dried, or canned (with manual can opener)

? 3-day supply of water. Plan for 1 gallon per person per day (1/2 for drinking and ½ for food prep/sanitation), but you may need more in warm climate/weather or with some medical conditions. Store in plastic containers; avoid glass and old milk/juice cartons.

? Canned juices, soups, and milk (if using powdered drinks, more water is needed)

? High-energy foods like peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, nuts, and trail mix (single-serve packs like restaurant-style jelly will not require refrigeration)

? Comfort foods – cookies, candy, sweetened cereals, instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc.

? MREs (also known as Meals Ready to Eat — the all-in-one food and beverage pack option)

? Condiments (salt, pepper, sugar, and spices; single-serve packets)

Note: Be sure to carefully watch food and water storage conditions (dark, dry, and cool work best) and monitor expiration dates; rotate all food and beverages on a regular basis.

? Mess kit (or paper plates, plastic utensils, cups, etc.)

? Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and zip/slider-seal bags

? Pot and frying pan (all purpose)

? Pot holders or grill gloves

? Camping stove (with fuel) or grill (with gas or charcoal)

? Matches (place in zip bag or other waterproof container)

? Fire extinguisher (ABC type)

Sheltering Items (Especially for Sheltering-in-Place or with Family / Friends / Neighbors)

? First aid kit and related supplies (aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever packets, adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, compresses/dressings, sterile gauze pads and roller bandage, non-latex gloves, scissors, tweezers, CPR breathing barrier, and first aid instruction book). Also, see medication information in the next section (Health Conditions…).

? Swiss army knife, leather-man tool, wrench, hammer, and pry bar

? Duct tape

? Plastic sheeting

? Change of clothing and footwear (at least one per person) – consider that conditions can change (even in hot weather, nights may cool dramatically)

? Blankets, pillow, and sleeping bag

? Weather-related clothing (rain or snow gear, boots, gloves, hat, long-johns, etc.)

? List(s) of emergency contact information including your support network members in and out of the area, your service providers, etc. Laminate your list(s) or protect them with a zip-lock (slider-seal) bag. These bags now are available in many sizes and throughout the rest of this document their use will be implied with the phrase “zip ‘em.”

? Recent individual photos of family members pets (zip ‘em)

? Copies of important documents like birth/marriage/death certificates, passports, licenses, deeds, bank account numbers, insurance policies, stocks/bonds, wills, and proof of address such as copies of utility bills (zip ‘em). This kind of information can also be stored digitally (e.g., memory sticks/zip drives/cds/dvds).

? Cell phones (with chargers) and walkie-talkies (with lots of batteries)

? Address book (or PDA and charger)

? Household inventory

? Extra set of keys

? Flashlight and radio/weather alert – crank type or regular with lots of extra batteries

? Cash, credit cards, checkbook, ATM card, and possibly traveler’s checks (zip ‘em)

? Sanitation and hygiene items including soap, moistened towelettes, hand sanitizer, deodorant, denture care items, Kleenex, toilet paper, absorbent pads/feminine supplies, toothbrushes and toothpaste, nail clipper, etc. (zip ‘em and place in tote)

? Plastic trash bags with twist ties

? Disinfectant

? Chlorine bleach (unscented) and an eye dropper (16 drops/gal. of water and let sit 30 min. If water does not have a slight chlorine odor, repeat the same dose and wait 15 min.)

? Plastic bucket with tight lid

? Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers

? Pet supplies including food, water, identification tags, collars, muzzles, leashes, cages, tie-down stakes, litter pan and litter, pooper scooper, non-spill dishes, first aid kit, medications, proof of up-to-date vaccinations, and veterinarian contact information

? Glow sticks (kids love these)

? White distress flag

? Whistle

? Pencils and lots of paper

? Sewing/mending kit

? Storage containers of all sizes (put other items inside them to keep things dry)

? Sun glasses and hat

? Sun screen and lip balm

? Bug spray

? Entertainment – books, activity/coloring books, card games, board games, plus I-pod and handheld video games (with lots of batteries, car chargers, and AC adapters)

? Favorite stuffed animal, action figure, or small toy for each child (comfort item and something for them to care / cling-onto)

? Tent

? Danger – candles; lots of people are injured/killed using candles that cause fires; best to avoid them altogether

? Danger – generators; improper venting can kill

? Danger – weapons; handle with care and keep away from children; weapons are not allowed in public shelters

Health Conditions and Mobility

? Register with 2-1-1 system for evacuation assistance. This system is run by the United Way. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that, where available, connects people with important community services and volunteer opportunities. Faced with a dramatic increase in the number of agencies and help-lines, people often don’t know where to turn. In many cases, people end up going without these necessary services because they do not know where to start. 2-1-1 helps people find and give help.

? Identify your health conditions and disability-related needs by writing them down (laminate it and place it in your wallet) and, if possible, wearing medical alert tags or bracelets.

? Maintain a current list of inoculations and dates received, esp. last tetanus shot

? Medical equipment and assistive devices (e.g., glasses and sunglasses, contact lenses and cleaning supplies, hearing aids, catheters, augmentative communication devices, canes, artificial limbs or larynx, and walkers). Try to have spares too (e.g., an old pair of glasses; a folding cane). Label each with your name and contact information. Be sure to have extra batteries and chargers. (zip ‘em)

? Prescribed medications, including a list of the drug names, dosages, frequency, doctor and pharmacist. Also consider if medications need to be refrigerated and, if so, bring a cooler with an ice pack or other coolant system. (zip ‘em). Also consider getting at least a 30-day supply in the event that medications are unavailable.

? Over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications – pain relievers, allergy and cold medication, antacids/stomach remedies, anti-diarrhea pills, laxatives, skin creams, syrup of Ipecac, activated charcoal, and vitamins. (zip ‘em)

Note: As with food/beverage items, be sure to watch storage conditions and expiration dates for all medications; rotate supplies on a regular basis.

? Make your environment as fire-resistant as possible (esp. clothing and bedding).

? Avoid placing furniture and decorations anyplace that blocks/slows exiting

? Hook a small go-bag and your emergency contact list to your walker or wheelchair

? Wheelchair users – have heavy gloves available in the go-bag for use when you must make your way over glass and debris

? Wheelchair users – consider pre-positioning lightweight wheelchair(s) that can be used to carry you out of your residential building and/or workplace whenever elevators cannot be used. This will require committed helpers who are willing to practice with the equipment before the disaster.

? Motorized chair users – have an extra battery and charging unit available at an alternate location

? All moving chair users – have a patch kit and a can of “seal-in-air” to repair flat tires

? Buddy system / peer support options (keep those contact lists current and handy)

? Explore special-needs shelter options, if any

Cognitive / Developmental Challenges

? Register with 211 for evacuation assistance.

? Have a simple plan, written or pictorial, for each location (laminate or zip ‘em)

? Personal support network is critically important – have a contact list with three people at each location (laminate or zip ‘em)

? Communication devices – word board, special laptop (with batteries/charger), etc.

? Carry a simple, pre-printed message to show first responders (e.g., “I may have trouble understanding you and following directions because I have _”)

? Keep your ID and your key(s) on a lanyard around your neck (and other emergency contact information on your person at all times)

? Practice “stop-think-act” and try to limit impulsive comments or behavior that may distress others

? Explore special-needs shelter options, if any

Sensory Issues

? Alarms that cover all needs – visual (flashing strobe light), vibration (pillow/bed shaker), and audible alerts

? Backup plan to go area to area or room to room and alert folks if the technology fails

? Reliance upon support network to clarify details (e.g., Is this a drill or an actual emergency?) and guide to nearest safe exit

? Relay options (dial 711, CapTel, text messaging phones/pagers, and Internet)

? News options (e.g., radio news best for visually impaired as all details are given verbally; close-captioned TV best for hearing impaired)

? Sign-language interpreter services – have a list of people who may be available

Service Animals

? Okay in shelters – may need proof of special need and animal’s training (pets are not allowed in most shelters)

? Supplies for service animal including food, water, identification tags, collar, leash, tie-down stake, non-spill dishes, medications, and first aid kit

? Be prepared to care for your companion – favorite toy, treats, plastic bags, paper towels, pooper-scooper, etc.

For More Information

Many of these agencies provide materials in large font, audio or videocassette formats, and different languages.

American Council of the Blind www.acb.org
(202) 467-5081 (voice)

American Foundation for the Blind www.afb.org
(212) 502-7600 (voice)

American Red Cross www.redcross.org or call your local chapter

Center for Disability Issues and the Health Profession, Western University of Health Sciences evac@westernu.edu. (909) 469-5380 (voice) • (909) 469-5520 (TTY)

Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities: Project Cope www.ldonline.org
(914) 493-5202 (voice)

Easter Seals (s.a.f.e.t.y. First program) www.easter-seals.org
(800) 221-6827 (voice) • (312) 726-4258 (TTY)

Federal Emergency Management Agency www.fema.gov/preparedness/
(800) 480-2520 (voice)

Gallaudet University Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center www.clerccenter.gallaudet.edu
(202) 651-5031 (voice/TTY)

Humane Society of the U.S. (Disaster Center) www.hsus.org/hgus
(202) 452-1100 (voice)

National Association of the Deaf www.nad.org
(301) 587-1788 (voice) • (301) 587-1789 (TTY)

National Organization on Disability www.nod.org/emergency
(202) 293-5960 (voice) • (202) 293-5968 (TTY)

National Spinal Cord Research Association Resource Center on Emergency Preparedness www.spinalcord.org; (800) 962-9629 (voice)

NOAA Weather Radio www.weather.gov/nwer/special-needs.htm

Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. www.tdi-online.org
(301) 589-3786 (voice) • (301) 589-3006 (TTY)


U.S. Department of Homeland Security www.ready.gov
(800) BE READY (voice) • (800) 464-6161 (TTY)

U.S. Fire Administration www.usfa.fema.gov/safety/atrisk/
(301) 447-1000 (voice)

United Spinal Association www.unitedspinal.org
(718) 803-3782 (voice)


Reprinted from: www.eyeofthestorminc.com

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