Make a Plan

Download Make a Plan worksheet
Make a Plan
 worksheet to help you get ready for emergencies. Fill in your emergency plan here and save it. [188kb PDF]   
Download printable wallet cards

Create your cards online or download printable Wallet Cards for emergency information. [203kb PDF]

Emergencies and disasters can strike anyone, anytime and anywhere. They can happen quickly and without warning, and they can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or require you to stay in your home.

It is vital that you understand what a disaster could mean for you and your family. Each person's needs and abilities are different, but every individual can take important steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies and to put plans in place. Get ready now.

Family Emergency Plan

For Older Virginians

For People with Disabilities

For Pets

Family Emergency Plan

  • Discuss with your family, friends and neighbors the types of disasters and emergencies that are most likely to happen and what to do in each case.
  • After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance than to get a local call to connect. Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your family emergency contact. All family members should call this person in an emergency to check in.
  • Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.
  • You might have trouble getting through, or the telephone system might be down altogether, but be patient.
  • Take a first aid, CPR or other class so that you have the knowledge to help yourself and others if needed.
  • If you do not own a vehicle or drive, learn what your community’s plans are for those without private transportation now, before an emergency. Contact your local emergency manager new window to learn about plans in your area.
  • Decide now where you and your family will meet in case you can’t return home because of an emergency. Keep a record of the location’s address and phone number, as well as the phone numbers of your family, with you at all times.
  • Make a visual or written record of your possessions to help you claim losses in the event of damage. Include photographs of cars, boats and recreational vehicles. Get professional appraisals of jewelry, collectibles, artwork or other items that might be difficult to evaluate. Also, photograph the exterior of your home. Include the landscaping that might not be insurable but does increase the value of your property for tax purposes. Make copies of receipts and canceled checks for valuable items.
  • Make a plan for your pets.
  • Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together during an emergency. Find out if anyone has specialized equipment like a power generator or expertise such as medical knowledge that might help in a crisis. Decide who will check on elderly or disabled neighbors. Make back-up plans for children in case you can't get home in an emergency.

For Older Virginians

  • Does your apartment complex, assisted living facility or nursing home have emergency plans? Find out what it is and practice it.
  • Identify what equipment you use on a daily basis and what you might do if they are limited or not available. Provide your power company with a list of all life-support equipment required by you or members of your household. Get another power source for the equipment in case the power goes out, if possible.
  • If you feel you might not be able to turn off utilities yourself, arrange for someone, such as a neighbor, to help you. Post emergency numbers for utility companies by your phone, such as water and sewer, electricity and gas.
  • If someone in the household is hearing-impaired, they might have difficulty hearing sirens or other types of alerts. In such cases, consider buying an alert system that features a visual signal, and make plans now through local emergency managers new window.
  • People who need special help or transportation during an evacuation should contact their local emergency manager new window, who can offer advice about what to do during an evacuation.
  • If you undergo routine treatments at a clinic or hospital, or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers and incorporate them into your personal support network.
  • Create a support network. If you anticipate needing assistance during a disaster, talk to family, friends and others who will be part of your personal support network. Write down and share each aspect of your emergency plan with everyone in your support network.
    • Make sure everyone knows how you plan to evacuate your home or workplace and where you will go in case of a disaster.
    • Make sure that someone in your local network has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies.
    • Teach people who will help you how to use any lifesaving equipment, and administer medicine in case of an emergency.
    • Practice your plan with people who have agreed to be part of your network.
  • Following an emergency, some people try to take advantage of those affected by disaster through price gouging and other scams. These people often target seniors. Be alert for such illegal activity. If you suspect someone is trying to take advantage of you, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357 or to the Better Business Bureau.

For People with Disabilities

  • Create a support network. If you anticipate needing assistance during a disaster, talk to family, friends and others who will be part of your personal support team, and write down and share each aspect of your emergency plan with them.
    • Make sure everyone knows how you plan to evacuate your home or workplace and where you will go in case of a disaster.
    • Make sure that someone in your support network has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies.
    • Teach people who will help you how to use any lifesaving equipment, and administer medicine in case of an emergency.
    • Practice your plan with people who have agreed to be part of your network.
  • Tell these people where you keep your emergency supplies.
  • Give one member of your support network a key to your house or apartment.
  • If someone in the household is hearing-impaired, they might have difficulty hearing sirens or other types of alerts. In such cases, consider buying an alert system that features a visual signal, and make special arrangements ahead of time through local emergency management officials.
  • People who need special help or transportation during an evacuation should contact their local emergency manager new window, who can offer advice about what to do during an evacuation.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to help identify your disability.
  • If you rely on dialysis or other life sustaining treatment, know the location and availability of more than one facility.
  • Show others how to operate your wheelchair.
  • Know the size and weight of your wheelchair in case it has to be transported.
  • Make an emergency communications plan
  • For more info, go to: http://www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs

For Pets

  • Many emergency shelters will not accept pets other than service animals.
  • Talk to your veterinarian or local humane society now about an emergency plan for your pets.
  • If you must evacuate, take your pets with you, if possible.
  • Make a plan now for your pet to stay at a friend’s or relative’s home, a pet-friendly hotel or motel or a kennel or vet’s office that will shelter your pet in an emergency.
  • Get a pet emergency supply kit.
  • Do not leave your pet outside during an emergency. Bring them inside.