Life with MS

Emergency Planning

By MSFocus staff
A power outage is an inconvenience for everyone, but for people with disabilities it can become a life-threatening situation. Should some type of emergency arise, would you be ready? Prepare today for an emergency tomorrow. Don't be left in the dark!
Recognize all potential hazards, such as loss of electricity, gas, water, or telephone service. Flooding, street and store closings, blizzards, earthquakes, and hurricanes are several possible scenarios. Having some idea in mind of what you might be planning for can make emergency planning easier.
Keep a list of all supplies and equipment related to your disability, along with where you keep these things in your home. Write down all supplies you will need for a period of at least three days, in case of evacuation.
Complete a medical information list. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Ask questions. What should I do if I run out of medicine or am unable to obtain it right away? How do I store my medication and what is its shelf life? Keep at least a seven-day supply of essential medications, and if possible extra copies of prescriptions.
Your medical information list should include:
  • Names of medications, dosages, times administered.
  • Copies of health insurance cards
  • Medical condition for which you take the medication
  • Prescribing doctor's name and phone number
  • Any known drug allergies, as well as any communication or cognitive difficulties.

Build a support network of people that are willing to assist you in case of an emergency. Your support network might include trusted neighbors, church members, friends, or relatives. These people will assist you with evacuation procedures, ascertain that you have all the supplies you need, and determine that your equipment is working properly.
Emergency staples include:
  • Bottled water (about 3 gallons per person)
  • Several flashlights in various locations
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Smoke alarm
  • Battery operated radio or TV
  • Whistle or load bell to attract attention
  • Wrench for gas turn-off
  • Garbage bags
  • Ready-to-eat food
  • Manual can-opener
  • Money
  • Extra battery for motorized wheelchairs
  • Patch kit and canned air for wheelchair tires

For more information, call your local American Red Cross or electric company, or visit, To learn about animal disaster preparedness, call your local animal shelter or visit