ServicesEmergency Preparedness

If the first 72 is on you, are you prepared?

After a major disaster, it is unlikely that emergency response services will be able to immediately respond to everyone’s needs, so it’s important to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least the first 72 hours.  In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even longer.

The role of public health in an emergency event may be medication dispensing. What would Emergency Medication Dispensing look like?

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.

Before an emergency happens, take time to develop a family emergency plan that includes a family communication plan.  Listed below are several samples of plans.  Choose a plan that works best for your family.

Family Communication Plan – English – American Red Cross

Plan Familiar de Comunicaciones – Spanish – American Red Cross

Family Emergency Plan – FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Additional Sample Family Plans – Ready. Gov

Additional tips for your plan:

  • Designate an out-of-area contact person. Try to select someone that is far enough away to not be affected by the same emergency. Provide this person with the names and contact information of the people you want to keep informed of your situation. Instruct family members to call this person and tell them where they are. Long distance phone service is often restored sooner than local service.
  • Duplicate important documents and keep copies off-site, either in a safety deposit box or with someone you trust. Documents may include: passport, drivers license, social security card, wills, deeds, financial statements, insurance information, marriage license and prescriptions.
  • Inventory valuables, in writing and with photographs or video. Keep copies of this information off-site with your other important documents. When planning, consider the special needs of children, seniors or people with disabilities, family members that don’t speak English and pets.

You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days.

After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location.  Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that you can move easily.

Suggestion items for a basic emergency kit: 

  • Water- one gallon per person per day
  • Food – non perishable, easy-to-prepare items
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
  • Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
  • First Aid Kit & instructions
  • A copy of important documents & phone numbers
  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member
  • Radio – battery operated or hand crank
  • Disposable camera
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer & nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities- don’t forget water and supplies for your pets

A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly.  Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.

Suggestions for a Go-Bag:

  • Flashlight
  • Radio – battery operated or hand crank
  • Batteries
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities- don’t forget water and supplies for your pets

In addition, learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area before an emergency strikes, and know how to access information during an emergency.

Where to get Information

During a public health emergency, information will pop up as an Emergency Alert.

Information will also be available through local media.

Head of HouseholdMedical Countermeasurer Data Collection Form
Emergency Preparedness Links