Disaster Preparedness for the Public

One of the biggest lessons learned from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was the need for self-sufficiency during and after a disaster. One of the things that slowed the relief efforts was the federal government's inability to establish logistical support to rescuers for almost two weeks. If emergency responders don't have food or water, they simply become victims themselves.

Katrina Flood Victims

The possibility of a local disaster is slim but it is real. Everyone should consider preparing ahead of time so that they can be as self-sufficient as possible should regular supplies and/or services be unavailable for an extended period. Disease outbreak, floods, tornados, and earthquakes are all examples of disasters that could disrupt regular activities in our area for an extended time.

Disaster Prep Tasks

  • Store a two week supply of water and food. If you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages.
  • Have nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
  • Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.
  • Get involved in your community as it works to prepare for disasters.

Disaster Prep Graphic

Examples of food and non-perishables:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, and soups
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter or nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Bottled water
  • Canned or jarred baby food and formula
  • Pet food
  • Other non-perishable items
  • Manual can opener
  • Garbage bags
  • Tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers

Examples of medical, health, and emergency supplies:

  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment
  • Soap and water, or alcohol-based (60-95%) hand wash
  • Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Thermometer
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Vitamins
  • Fluids with electrolytes
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Portable radio

Disability-Specific Resources

Disaster Planning for Individuals with Disabilities

Disaster Safety for People with Disabilities

Fire Safety for People with Disabilities: A How-to Guide for Prevention and Evacuation