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Emergency Preparedness and Response

National Preparedness Month 

Week Two: Know How to Plan for Specific Needs Before a DisasterNPM Logo

Emergencies can strike quickly and without warning.  You and/or your family may not be at home when an emergency happens. 
You can ensure your own safety and the safety of your family and pets by preparing in advance for emergencies and disasters.

Special Planning Considerations:

Depending on the age of your child/children, there may be different things you want to consider when planning for a disaster.

Infants and toddlers:

  • Do they attend a daycare or preschool during the day?  Have you made arrangements with a friend or family member to pick your child/children up from their care provider if you are unable to reach them? 
  • Have you included extra formula and/or baby food, diapers, wipes, extra clothing, and a few toys or special items in your emergency kit? 
  • If your child takes any medications, or uses any special medical equipment (especially electricity dependent equipment), be sure to consider those items in your emergency plans and kits.

School-aged children: 

  • Are you familiar with your child’s school emergency plans?
  • Ask your child’s teacher if there are any emergency supplies you should send to school with your child. 
  • Have you identified a friend or family member that can pick up or stay with your child until you can reach them? 
  • Is your child familiar with your family communication, evacuation, and reunification plans?

For additional information:

Special Medical or Access and Functional Needs:

If you or a loved one have any special medical or access and functional needs, here are some things you will want to consider:

  • Keep a current list of all your medications, including dosage and frequency, and any special instructions.
  • Maintain a list of any medical equipment you use, including serial numbers.
  • Have a medical alert tags or written descriptions of your medical needs in case you are unable to describe them to a first responder.
  • Extra pairs of eye glasses and batteries for hearing aids or other equipment.
  • If you have a service animal, be sure to have extra supplies, such as food, medications, water.

Brochure: Disabilities

Pets and animals are important members of our families.  If you have pets or other animals, such as livestock, you’ll want to be sure to have a plan and supplies for them. 

  • Do you have carriers, crates, trailers, or other equipment that you may need to evacuate your animals and have you trained your animals to get into that equipment?  Does someone else know how to help with your animals if you need assistance, like a neighbor? 
  • Practice loading your pets into their crate/carrier and putting them in the car for a ride.  You should also practice trailering your large animals and hooking them up to a vehicle.
  • Do you have extra food, water, medications, identification, leashes?
  • Remember, Red Cross Shelters may not be able to co-locate human sheltering with animal sheltering.  Be sure to identify friends, family, boarding facilities, or hotels that accept animals in advance so that you and your animals can both evacuate to a safer location. 

Brochure: Pets


For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the “Be Prepared” section of our website.  You can also visit FEMA’s Ready campaign website –