Creating a Disaster Plan

Disaster can strike at any time and it is critical that you and your agency are ready when it does. The following is a list of things to include in your agency's Disaster Plan.

1. Detailed descriptions of the patient’s needs and medical information.

2. Mental Health Concerns such as anxiety, depression, disease-related behaviors (wandering off, delusion and hallucinations).

3. Important daily routines that are crucial to the patient’s health.

4. Safety concerns such as the use of a walker, hearing aids, bed rails and the risk of falling.

5. Interests, diet restrictions, and lifestyle information.

6. Include a list of the types of medications the patient MUST take with them, along with an up to date list of all the medication the patient is taking, and any allergies the patient has to food or medications.

7. Decide on an evacuation route to follow and include emergency meeting places. Be sure to plan for each of the following meeting places:
a. Indoor locations for cases of tornadoes, hurricanes, or other high-wind storms that can happen. Make sure everyone knows where to go for protection.
b. A location in the neighborhood if you need to leave the house due to a fire or gas leak emergency.
c. A location outside the neighborhood which can be a library, community center, house of worship, or family friend’s home
d. A location outside the city or the town for major citywide emergencies.

Include the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there. Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.

8. Include telephone numbers of local family members and some out of state to contact after a disaster.

9. List what the caregivers need to remember to do during an emergency or disaster, and any medications or procedures to perform before moving the patient to safety.

10. Include a copy of the emergency plan in the supply kit to ensure it is with the patient in case anyone gets separated.

11. Include the names and ages of every member in the household.

12. Put information about pets in the family and any precautions or special instruction on how to care for the pets.

13. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and PRACTICE. Making an emergency plan can seem easy on paper but it is important to practice the plan with everyone involved to ensure the plan includes all the details necessary.