VHA Office of Emergency Management
Veterans & Emergency Management
It is common to experience fear or anxiety when faced with an emergency or disaster that is beyond our control. And being prepared for those events before they occur is a key ingredient to how we are able to navigate those moments of uncertainty.
And while blizzards differ from hurricanes, and house fires are not the same as global pandemic events (Ready.gov has published detailed planning for more than 20 specific events) - planning for "all hazard" events is a good approach to basic emergency preparation.
Basic Emergency Preparation
Make a survival kit for yourself and your family:
- Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Flashlight Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries (Similar item available in the Red Cross Store)
- Deluxe family first aid kit Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Printed medication list Multi-purpose tool Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash Emergency blanket Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit:
- Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers) Games and activities for children
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Two-way radios
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
- N95, surgical or cloth facemasks
- Rain gear
- Work gloves Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- Scissors or utility knife
- Household liquid bleach
- Entertainment items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Visit the VA health care facility website near you for information about emergency events near you and response/recovery plans.
- Create and authenticate a MyHealtheVet account. Use secure messaging to stay connected with your health care team.
- Have a hard copy of your medication list in your survival kit.
- Make sure you have a mobile phone and charger in case you need to call for a first responder, emergency service or contact your family, friends and neighbors.
- Visit the FEMA website and explore the "Assistance" section.
- Take care of yourself. Explore some of these quick videos to help you manage stress and feel better.
- SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline
- Check the operating status of your VA health care facility.
- Go to your VA facility's website and sign up for email notifications.
- Get local information from local officials and community leaders. Use the FEMA search tool to locate and connect with those resources.
- Install a mobile app to your phone and stay connected wherever you go. These are not VA apps and VA does not manage, maintain or endorse any of these options:
- FEMA App
- SAMHSA App
- Index of many emergency management related mobile apps
- Red Cross published on the NIH website