Emergency Preparedness
Satellite image of a huricane over the Gulf of Mexico.

Make a Plan

How might a disaster affect you? Could you make it on your own for at least three days? After a disaster you may not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore. It is crucial to plan what your regular needs are and know what you would do if they become limited or unavailable. Additional planning steps should include:

  1. Create a support network. Inform them where you keep your emergency supplies. You may want to consider giving one member a key to your house or apartment.
  2. Build a Disaster Supply Kit to last for at least 72 hours.
  3. Register with the Florida Division of Emergency Management partner with local agencies for residents with special needs to receive assistance during a disaster. Be ready to explain to first responders that you need to evacuate and choose to go to a shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, personal assistant and your assistive technology devices and supplies.
  4. Plan ahead for accessible transportation that you may need for evacuation or getting to a medical clinic.
  5. For medical needs:
    1. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ online tool helps people locate and access their electronic health records from a variety of sources.
    2. At least a week-long supply of prescription medicines.
    3. A list of all medications, dosage and any allergies.
    4. Wear medical alert tags or bracelets.
    5. Extra eyeglasses.
    6. Extra hearing-aid and wheelchair batteries (or a manual wheelchair, if available).
    7. Oxygen.
    8. A list of the style and serial number of medical devices (include special instructions for operating your equipment).
    9. Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards.
    10. Contact information for doctors, relatives or friends who should be notified if you are hurt.
    11. If you are dependent on dialysis or other life-sustaining treatment know the location and availability of more than one facility.
    12. If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity, talk to your doctor or health care provider about how you can prepare for its use during a power outage.
    13. If you have diabetes, see the Tips section of this site.
    14. Pet food, extra water, collar with ID tag, medical records and other supplies for your service animal.
  6. For communication needs:
    1. If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information provides the best way to communicate with you.
    2. If you use an augmentative communications device or other assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed.
    3. Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working, including laminated cards with phrases, pictures or pictograms.
    4. Keep Braille/text communication cards, if used, for two-way communication.
    5. Keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station and monitor TV and radio. Follow mobile alerts and warnings about severe weather in your area.
    6. Download the FEMA app and get weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.
    7. Choose a designated meeting place in case you are separated from your family and are unable to reach them by phone.