Global & Disaster Medicine

Personal Health Preparedness: CDC

A major public health emergency like a hurricane or a lengthy power outage can limit your access to supplies and services for several days, weeks, or even months. Be prepared with safe water and food, basic supplies, and the personal items you need to protect your health in an emergency.

Personal Needs:

  • An emergency water supply.
  • Nonperishable and ready-to-eat food, including specialty foods—such as nutrition drinks and ready-to-feed formula—for infants, and people with dietary restrictions, food allergies and sensitivities, and medical conditions such as diabetes.
  • Home use medical devices and assistive technologies devices, such as hearing aids, contact lenses, and contact lens solution.
  • Medical supplies.
  • First aid supplies.
  • For more essentials, click here.


  • A 7- to 10-day emergency supply of essential or priority medications stored in a waterproof, childproof container.
  • An up-to-date list, including
    • All prescription medications, including dosage amounts and the names of their generic equivalents
    • Medical supply needs
    • Known allergies
  • Nonprescription drugs, including pain and fever relievers, diuretics, antihistamines, and antidiarrheal medications stored in childproof containers.
  • For more information on prescriptions, click here.


  • Copies of insurance cards and medical records, including
    • Health insurance card
    • Immunization and vaccination records
  • Vital records (e.g., birth and death certificates and adoption records) and personal identification, including
    • Passport
    • Driver’s license
    • Social Security card
  • Copies of current medical emergency plans, such as advance directives and asthma action plans.
  • For more information on paperwork, click here.

Power Sources:

  • A flashlight or head lamp.
  • Extra batteries in standard sizes, such as AA and AAA.
  • Car charger(s) and adapters for electricity-dependent equipment and devices.
  • A generator with at least 20 feet of extension cord(s).
  • Battery-powered smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
  • For more power sources, click here.

Practical Skills:

  • Learn the right way to wash your hands. Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family, and others from getting sick.
  • Learn how to use a portable generator safely to prevent CO poisoning.
  • Learn how to create and store an emergency water supply.
  • For more practical skills, click here.

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