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Creating an Emergency Plan for Coronavirus

Creating an emergency plan with family and friends, and for yourself, if you live alone, will help you be prepared for a Coronavirus outbreak or other emergency. Review the following tips:

Talk with Relatives/Friends and Neighbors. Meet to discuss what should be done if a disaster or emergency occurs and what the needs of each person will be. If your neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to stay connected to neighbors, information, and resources.

Identify organizations in your community that can offer assistance. Create a list of community-and faith-based organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you lack access to information, health care services, support, and resources. Consider including organizations that provide mental health or counseling services, food, and other supplies.

Create an emergency contact list. Ensure that everyone in your household has a current list of emergency contacts for family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.

Food and Water. Make sure you have an emergency supply of food and water at home for you and your household.

Plan to have extra supplies of important items on hand. For example: soap, hand sanitizer, tissues and toilet paper. If you or your household members have a chronic medical condition and regularly take prescription drugs keep an emergency supply of medications at home. You may need to contact your health care provider to ask for an emergency supply of your medications. Have over-the-counter medication/supplies at home in case you or someone in your household gets sick. For example: fever/pain reducers, cold/flu symptom relief, thermometer and anti-diarrhea medications.

Choose a room in your home to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. If possible, also choose a bathroom for the sick person to use. Plan to clean these rooms daily.


  • Back-up child care arrangements for children. If you have young children at home and school or daycare has been canceled do you have a trusted friend, neighbor or relative that can watch your children?
  • Learn about the emergency operations plan at your child’s school or child care facility. During an emergency, local public health official may recommend schools be dismissed early or close entirely. If your child attends a college or university, encourage your child to learn about the school’s plan for emergencies.
  • Keep routines at home as normal as possible. If schools are dismissed, try to keep children busy with activities and exercises at home. Keep educational materials, such as books and videos, on hand. Ensure that children keep up with school work. Watch your children’s health closely.

Elders:  If you provide support or care for an elderly family member, ensure that they have enough food/water and emergency supplies. Ensure they have emergency numbers if needed. Identify other family/friends that can assist your elderly relative if you are unable to do so.

Pets: If your family has pets, make sure your emergency plan also includes a plan for them. Ensure that you have purchased enough food, medication and other supplies for them for two weeks.  Make sure you have any necessary pet carriers and pack plenty of food and water to take with you if you need to travel.

Tip sheet adapted from “Get Your Household Ready for Pandemic Flu”, April 2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you are experiencing feelings of prolonged or intense worry or anxiety, contact the EAP at 866-724-4327

This content was last modified on: 03/10/2020

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In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.

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