Don’t Forget Your Pet Emergency Kit, Too

Your pet is an important member of your household! The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire, flood, or tornado depends largely on emergency planning done today. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.

Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Below is a good starting point to ensure you pet is ready for an emergency.

  • Food. At least a three day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • Water. At least three days of water specifically for your pets.
  • Medicines and medical records.
  • Important documents. Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
  • First aid kit. Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.
  • Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.
  • Crate or pet carrier. Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
  • Sanitation. Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
  • A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
  • Familiar items. Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.

For more information, please download Preparing Makes Sense for Pet Owners-Emergency Preparedness Pet Kit List (PDF)  to find out exactly what items your pet needs to be ready.

Make a Vehicle Emergency Kit

We spend far too much time in our vehicles sitting in Northern Virginia traffic! You never know where you will be when an emergency occurs, and quite possibly you might be stuck in traffic without an idea of when you will get home.

Your vehicle emergency kit should have similar items as your home kit; however, there are some unique items you may need to consider to ensure you vehicle kit is fully stocked.  The info-graphic above is a good starting point for items you should consider. Take the time now to ensure you have your vehicle kit stocked and ready for whatever emergency may happen in the future.

Build an Emergency Kit

Everyone should have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs. What should you include in your kit?

Below are two resources that include some basic items that every emergency supply kit should include. However, it is important to understand that these resources are to help you get a basic kit started. You need to consider where you live and the unique needs of your family in order to create an emergency supply kit that will meet YOUR needs. You should also consider having at least two emergency supply kits, one full kit at home and smaller portable kits in your office or vehicle. Build a Kit Website

Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) Emergency Supplies PDF

Make a Plan for your Office on Campus

While Virginia might have been lucky to not receive a direct impact, that does not mean we can let our guard down. Current forecasts predict Florence will turn back north-east once inland and may deliver additional rainfall in our region.

The Office of Emergency Management and Safety, along with College Instructional & Information Technology, sent important and helpful emails with preparedness information earlier this week. Please take the time to read them again in preparedness for whatever storm arrives next time.

Prepare yourself at the College now. Ask yourself and others in your department/office:

  • Do you have an updated call tree with everyone’s phone numbers?
  • What is your supervisor’s expectations of you and your team if the College is closed or you are unable to be at work?
  • Do you have the ability to work from an alternate location? Including access to a laptop, VPN, vital records needed for your job, etc.?
  • What is your leadership’s succession? If they are not available, who can make decisions for your office?
  • Do you have an emergency kit in the office? We will talk about making kits next week.
  • How would you continue your job or classroom instruction if there was a loss of:
    • Access to your normal building or classroom?
    • Equipment or systems failure (ex: power or IT system failure)?
    • Services due to a reduced workforce (ex: only half your team is available to work)?

These are all questions you and your team needs to discuss before an emergency occurs. Document this now and make sure your department’s Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan is updated.

For more information on how you can be ready at the College, please visit

Emergency Planning For Persons With Disabilities

The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today. While each person’s abilities and needs are unique, every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared.

Below you will find tips for individuals with disabilities, and others with access and functional needs, and the people who assist and support them can take to start preparing for emergencies before they happen.

Tips for People who are blind or have low vision:

  • Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print.  Keep a list of your emergency supplies, and where you bought it, on a portable flash drive, or make an audio file that is kept in a safe place where you can access it.
  • Keep a Braille, or Deaf-Blind communications device as part of your emergency supply kit.

Tips for People with Speech Disability:

  • If you use an augmentative communications device or other assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed.  Keep Model information, where the equipment came from (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, etc.)
  • Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working, including laminated cards with phrases and/or pictogram.

Tips for People with a mobility disability:

  • If you use a power wheelchair, if possible, have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported.
  • Show others how to operate your wheelchair. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair, in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported.
  • Purchase an extra battery for a power wheelchair or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices. If you are unable to purchase an extra battery, find out what agencies, organizations, or local charitable groups can help you with the purchase. Keep extra batteries on a trickle charger at all times.
  • Consider keeping a patch kit or can of sealant for flat tires and/or extra inner tube if wheelchair or scooter is not puncture proof.
  • Keep an extra mobility device such as a cane or walker, if you use one.
  • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance, and you must evacuate without your wheelchair, take your cushion with you.

Tips for individuals who may need behavioral support:

  • Plan for children with disabilities and people including individuals who may have post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), who may have difficulty in unfamiliar or chaotic environments.
    • This may include handheld electronic devices loaded with movies and games (and spare chargers), sheets and twine or a small pop up tent to decrease visual stimulation in a busy room or to provide instant privacy, headphones to decrease auditory distractions, and comfort snacks and toys that meet needs for stimulation.

Additional Items:

  • At least a week-long supply of prescription medicines, along with a list of all medications, dosage, and any allergies
  • Extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • Extra wheelchair batteries (manual wheelchair if possible) and/or oxygen
  • A list of the style and serial number of medical devices. Include special instructions for operating your equipment if needed.
  • Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards
  • Contact information for doctors, relatives or friends who should be notified if you are hurt.
  • Pet food, extra water, collar with ID tag, medical records and other supplies for your service animal
  • Handheld electronic devices loaded with movies and games (and spare chargers), headphones to decrease auditory distractions, and comfort snacks and toys that meet needs for stimulation.

Additional Resources