Are You Ready for an Emergency?

Michigan fortunately doesn’t get earthquakes, hurricanes, massive snowstorms, wildfires and other disasters that hit other parts of the country with regularity nowadays.

But boring stuff like water main breaks (that left thousands of homes in Macomb County without clean water last month), power outages and pounding rainstorms can be catastrophic for older adults.

Bottom line: It’s good for you and your caregiver to be prepared for emergencies, whether that’s a boil-water advisory or blackout.

Plan for an Emergency!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends putting together an emergency preparedness plan that includes an emergency supply kit with essentials such as hearing aid batteries and documents with contact information for family and doctors.

Other necessities for the emergency supply kit include:


Medical supplies

  • A 3-day supply of medicine or more. If medications need to be kept cold, have a cooler and ice packs available.
  • Glasses and/or contacts and contact solution
  • Medical supplies like syringes and hearing aids
  • Information about medical devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen including model numbers and vendor
  • Consider including a care plan. You can print out the form, fill it out, and include it in the kit.

Food and water

Your kit should include:

  • Bottled water, or gallons of water (1 gallon per person per day for three days)
  • A 3-day supply of nonperishable (canned or dry) food
  • Can opener
  • Food and water for your pet or service animal

Miscellaneous items

  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Battery-operated or hand-cranked radio
  • First-aid kit
  • Garbage bags and ties for personal waste in case there is no running water
  • Face masks
  • Face and hand wipes
  • Whistle


Important documents

  • Keep a list of contacts and the best way to reach them. Put the list in your wallet, on the counter or wall in the kitchen or bedroom, and in your emergency kit.
  • Keep copies of documents like your medical insurance cards, photo ID, and power of attorney documents in a sealed plastic bag and, if possible, have photos of each one in case of loss.
  • A list of medications you take, along with contact information for your pharmacy
  • A list of your allergies to food or medicine
  • A backup plan if you take regular medical treatments


Find a Friend

Choose someone (a relative, friend, neighbor) who will check on you during an emergency and decide how you will communicate with each other (e.g, by phone, in person, email). Make sure that person has a spare key to your home, and if necessary, they know how to give you medication or use lifesaving equipment.


Have an Exit Plan

  • Plan how you will leave and where you will go during an evacuation. If you are living in a retirement or assisted living community, learn what procedures are in place in case of emergencies.