Create your emergency plan with seniors, disabled and pets

Consider Seniors, Disabled and Pets when creating your Emergency Plan

If you or someone in your family has special needs, make sure you include their needs in your plan.  Or, perhaps you have pets.  Make sure you include their needs into your Emergency Plan.

Seniors, Disabled and Special Needs

If you or a family member is disabled or has mobility issues (using a Wheelchair, Walker, cane, needs Oxygen, etc.), you need prepare for an emergency just like everyone else.

  • If you think you will be alone at home and may need assistance in a disaster, create a network of friends, neighbors, in-home caregivers and family in your neighborhood who may be able to assist you.
  • Give them a key or let them know where you keep a spare key or how they may be able to get access to you.
  • Have a conversation with your network about where you keep your emergency kit, your needs, habits and whereabouts (for example: if you go to an elder care or other facility). Give copies of your plan to them.
  • Document all important information about medical care, insurance, care providers, prescriptions, emergency contacts, etc.
  • If you are using any special equipment or supplies, create a list of suppliers and their contact information in case you need any replacements, including batteries for hearing aids.
  • If you use any equipment that requires power, identify a backup source.
  • Your local community may maintain registries for special needs individuals. Find out if your community has one and opt-in. These opt-in registries help local officials locate you faster, provide assistance and reunite families after a disaster.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets in case you have a condition such as severe allergies or just had heart surgery or something else.
  • Create a list of facilities in and around your area if you need dialysis or other regular life-sustaining treatment.
  • If you have a Guide Dog or pet, include information about your dog and supplies for your dog.


You love your pets very much!  Most people who own pets consider them family.  It is very likely that pets will not be allowed in a public shelter.  So, it’s important to plan for their safety during a disaster.

You might already know that many pets get confused during an emergency and may hide under mattresses or go into their crates or favorite hiding places.  You may have to drag them out!

  • Make arrangements with your friends, family, veterinarian, boarding kennel or animal shelters during an emergency.
  • Create a plan with neighbors or friends in case you cannot return home.
  • Keep an emergency pet kit as well that includes the pet’s vaccination information, proof of ownership and identification, medications, medical records and a photograph of you with your pet. If your pet has a chip, make sure it’s registered with the American Kennel Club.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing rabies tags and identification.
  • Make sure to transfer your pet safely in secure carriers.
  • Create a Pet Go Bag which includes food, prescriptions and water.
  • Get a list of pet-friendly hotels along your evacuation paths if your pet is traveling with you.

Do you like this article?  Let me know your #1 takeaway in the comments section below.

Jasmine Alexander is the Founder and CEO of, an online organizer that safely stores personal records, account numbers, ownership documents and everything in between. Jasmine has a B.S. in Computer Science from New York University and a M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson School of Management.  

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