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Emergencies & Your Health

Planning ahead to protect ourselves in a disaster, including people who are medically vulnerable.

Customize Your Emergency Plan to Your Household 

It's unlikely that everyone in your household would be home all the time. It's good to also be prepared when an emergency happens away from home - these resources can help.

Include COVID Precautions

While COVID is still a pandemic, be sure to include protections against it as part of your emergency plan.

Emergency kits should include several masks (more than just one per person). Kits for evacuation should also include home test kits, in case you need to evacuate to a shelter.

For more on how to keep COVID from surging in an emergency, see our page for Slowing the Spread in our COVID-19 Information collection.

What do the Members of Your Household Need to Function in an Emergency?

For some people, it may be a back-up pair of glasses; for others, maybe mobility aids or regular medications or even a brace for a weak knee or a comfort toy for a young child. For a pet, that's probably a carrier that can become a temporary home if you need to evacuate.

Think in terms of everyday necessities but also unique needs, which may include medications, assistive devices, mobility aids, or service animals, as this checklist points out:

Considerations for seniors and family caregivers:


If a family member is in a care facility, ask about their preparedness. You should be able to see their full emergency plan, and details on how to evacuate if necessary.

Considerations for newbornschildren, and teens:

An important part of any emergency plan is to have kits ready to go if you have to evacuate. See that page for more details on what to include in different types of evacuation kits.

What About People in a Care Facility?

Facilities and homes licensed by the State of California are required to have emergency plans that include a plan for emergencies, what they will do, where they will go, if necessary, how they will get there, and similar considerations. The people working in these places know what to do to keep residents safe from harm.

If you are concerned about the well-being of a loved one residing in a long-term care facility (board and care, assisted living, skilled nursing), the Statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman CRISIS line is available 24/7 at 1-800-231-4024.

Include your animals in emergency plans, too!

The U.S. Weather Service advises:

  • Include your pets in your emergency plans
  • Build a separate emergency kit for your pets
  • Make sure to tag your pets with your contact information; and keep digital records and/or pictures to identify your pet after a disaster in case you become separated
  • Create a list of places that accept pets if an emergency happens (friends, pet-friendly hotels, shelters)

Cover the Most Likely Disasters in Your Plan

Depending on what type of disaster is most likely to hit, you may want to add specific instructions to your plan. These links can help:

Worried about fire -  at home, or wildfire?

If you're likely to be stuck at home by blocked roads (from flooding, mudslides, severe storm, or earthquake), these materials from Sonoma County  includes information that is useful in our area, too:

People may be forced to shelter in place for awhile if roads are blocked:

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