The Prepared Lifestyle: How To Plan for Seasonal and Pandemic Flu and Other Emergencies

This information is available in PDF format upon request.

Why Be Prepared?

Preparedness saves lives and lessens chaos, suffering and economic destruction. It is a lifestyle choice that requires commitment, action and a 
little money. 

Being prepared makes sense for everyone – and it IS possible to do. 

This is especially true for people with disabilities, who are at greater risk than the general public of death, injury and loss of independence during a disaster. 

All Hazards Preparedness Checklists for People with Disabilities

This booklet is designed to help you prepare for All Hazards, which include public health threats and natural or man-made disasters.

Seasonal Flu Plan

Seasonal flu kills 36,000 Americans every year and hospitalizes another 200,000. Seasonal flu would drastically worsen matters during a new epidemic or pandemic flu outbreak.

An epidemic occurs when a disease like the flu exceeds the usual or expected number of cases. 

Pandemic refers to a worldwide epidemic of a contagious disease such as the flu. 

Pandemics can include bird flu and other novel viruses. Health experts are closely monitoring these viruses and others.

Seniors, children, and people with chronic illnesses are especially susceptible to seasonal flu. Many people with disabilities are among these at-risk populations. However, the nature of pandemic flu puts people of all ages, both the sick and the healthy, at risk of contracting the illness and even dying.

An outbreak of pandemic flu or other novel infectious disease appears to be a real threat. Rather than "If?," the questions are “When?” and “How big?” an outbreak will be. Because these viruses are new to the human immune system, they may spread rapidly and become lethal.

Begin your prepared lifestyle by activating the 5-Step Season Flu Plan Checklist and Tip Sheets in flu season and during a public health threat.

5-Step Seasonal Flu Plan Checklist

Step 1: Get an annual flu shot.

Step 2: Use great hygiene habits.

Step 3: Avoid sharing devices or equipment and prevent the spread of germs on shared items.

Step 4: Limit contact with others by staying at home when ill. 

Step 5: Live a healthy lifestyle.

Step 2: Use great hygiene habits.

  • Use proper hand washing techniques.
  • Wash hands after touching items that have come into contact with a sick person, after using the toilet, after sneezing and coughing, and before eating or touching eyes or mouth.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or into your sleeve. Then wash or sanitize hands.
  • Wear a surgical or HEPA mask (N95 and N100) when flu outbreaks occur to prevent getting and spreading germs.
  • Wear latex or non-latex gloves when caring for the sick.
  • Stay home when sick.

Seasonal Flu Plan Tip Sheets

The flu is spread by coughing, sneezing and touching items that have been in contact with a sick person.

Step 3: Clean Shared Devices

  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Phone
  • Remote Control
  • Sports Equipment
  • Shopping Carts
  • Knobs and Handles

Step 5: Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat nutritious foods.
  • Avoid overuse of antibiotics and other infection-fighting remedies.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Regularly exercise, meditate and make decisions that enhance physical and mental health.
  • Find ways to de-stress, including laughing.

Pandemic Flu Plan

Individual and workplace pandemic plans are vital components of prevention and preparedness for disasters, including public health threats.

To prevent the spread of pandemic flu and to reduce the impact of the disease on individuals and society, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are asking governments, workplaces, and individuals to be prepared. 

The number one preventive strategy is to follow the Seasonal Flu Plan Checklist steps and activate an Individual and Workplace plan. Non-pharmaceutical methods and home care are the primary measures to treat pandemic flu until adequate medical resources are available. 

Should a pandemic illness occur, various social interventions may take effect, such as the quarantine of healthy people who have been exposed to the illness, isolation for those who are ill, and social distancing, which includes closing schools, canceling public events, and limiting public transportation. 

That means the workforce may be significantly limited during a public health crisis. In addition to those who are too ill to work, others will stay home to care for the sick or avoid getting ill. 

For people who rely on others for daily services or medical care, this workforce shortage could become life threatening. It is essential to include alternative caregivers and stockpiling in your preparedness plan.

The All Hazards stockpiles of nonperishable food, emergency supplies, important documents and service animal/pet preparedness on the following pages are components of both individual and workplace plans. 

Having the right items on hand increases survival and quality of life during disasters or emergencies.

Individual Pandemic Plan Checklist

Activate the five-step Seasonal Flu Plan.

Be informed about characteristics of pandemics and pandemic planning efforts.

Create and maintain an All Hazards stockpile. 

Stay Informed 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web site has up-to-date information on public health threats:

Apathy – such as feeling, “It can’t happen to me” or “Can’t afford it” – is the number one reason for lack of preparedness. 

So take charge and use these checklists to be prepared.

Workplace Pandemic Plan Checklist

  • Create an emergency plan to maintain operations during high employee absenteeism.
  • Maintain a healthy workforce. ; Create communication methods with employees about public health advisories/pandemic responses. 
  • Establish mutual aid agreements with others to maintain essential services. 
  • Develop an All Hazards preparedness plan that includes the needs of employees and clients with disabilities. 
  • Develop influenza-ready policies, including absenteeism policies for school/work closings and for employees to care for the sick at home. 

Tips to Maintain a Healthy Workforce

  • Work with local health department to provide flu shots for employees at the workplace.
  • Extend and increase time off policies.
  • Make vacation and sick leave policies flexible so employees can stay home when ill or caring for those who are still contagious.
  • Allow working from home when possible if employees are still contagious.
  • Encourage good hand washing techniques and disinfecting of shared equipment.
  • Provide information on preparedness.
  • Have a workforce All Hazards plan that includes seasonal flu and pandemic planning.
  • Create disaster stockpiles.
  • Take the challenge to see how many employees create stockpiles after the office sets the example.

Adapted from the Lawrence-Douglas County (KS) Medical Reserve Corps.

Ways to Build a Prepared Lifestyle

  • Use the checklists to help you build and maintain your All-Hazards plans and stockpiles.
  • Keep a copy of the checklists with your supplies to remind yourself what you have, what you need and what you need to replace.
  • Organize a preparedness group.
  • Buy in bulk and share.
  • Give stockpile items as gifts.
  • Get involved in planning with your local independent living center, neighborhood group, employees, or church.

Using Liquid Chlorine Bleach 

  • As a disinfectant: Dilute nine parts water to one part bleach
  • As an emergency water treatment: Use 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water

Oral Rehydration Recipe

Use this solution to prevent dehydration caused by fever. Mix together:

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar or honey*
  • One-quarter teaspoon of salt

Drink 8 ounces of oral rehydration solution every hour while feverish. If using sports drinks, dilute with 50 percent water. Drinking water or sports drinks alone will negatively affect the electrolytes in the body. 

*No honey for babies under 12 months to prevent infant botulism.

All Hazards Stockpile Checklist: 7-DAY SUPPLY OF NONPERISHABLE FOOD

  • Ready-to-eat canned items.
  • Protein and fruit bars.
  • Dry cereal and granola.
  • Peanut butter and jelly.
  • Dried fruit and nuts.
  • Crackers.
  • Canned or boxed juices.
  • Canned or jarred baby food/formula.
  • Canned or boxed milk or soy products.
  • Powdered milk.
  • Comfort foods such as cookies.
  • Fluids with electrolytes.
  • Sports drinks.
  • Instant coffee and tea.
  • Other boxed foods needing only water or milk.
  • Staples: Sugar, honey, salt, and flour.
  • Other (for restricted or special diets).
  • Pet food and litter.

During weekly shopping trips, pick up one or two items on this list. Annually rotate nonperishable foods and check documents to ensure they are up-to-date.

All Hazards Stockpile Checklist EMERGENCY SUPPLIES

  • 3-day supply of water (1 gallon per person, per day).
  • Fever medicines (acetaminophen or ibuprofen). No aspirin for children because of Reye’s syndrome.
  • 14-day supply of prescription medications.
  • 10-day supply of antiviral prescription medication.
  • Vitamins.
  • Thermometer and extra batteries for digital ones.
  • Anti-diarrheal medication.
  • Medicine dropper.
  • Cough suppressants.
  • Surgical or HEPA mask (N95 and N100 respirators).
  • Latex or non-latex gloves.
  • Cleaning agents, soap, and hand soap.
  • Liquid hand sanitizer (60-95%alcohol-based).
  • Household liquid chlorine bleach.(NO scented, color safe, or added cleaner.)†     Other disinfectants.
  • Paper tissues.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Feminine and other hygiene products.
  • Toothpaste and denture solution.
  • Extra shaving supplies.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Extra durable medical equipment supplies.
  • Plastic bags.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries (NO candles).
  • Portable radio with extra batteries or crank radio.
  • Matches in waterproof container.
  • Whistle (to attract emergency personnel).
  • Pack of cards/small entertainment options.
  • Duct tape.
  • Cash and coins (ATMs may not be accessible).
  • Sturdy shoes.

During weekly shopping trips, pick up one or two items on this list. Annually rotate nonperishable foods and check documents to ensure they are up-to-date.

All Hazards Stockpile Checklist: IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Seal copies of your important documents in freezer bags and place them in waterproof containers. These include:

  • Identification and Social Security cards (to resume benefits). 
  • Family and friends' contact information.
  • Lists of medications.
  • Doctors' and pharmacists' contact information.
  • Bank account numbers.
  • Serial numbers/style for mobility and medical devices. 
  • Health cards and medical alerts.
  • Birth certificate, immigration documents or guardianship decrees.
  • Medicaid/Medicare ID and food stamp ID.
  • Insurance information. (Keep up-to-date.)
  • Eyeglasses and denture information.

During weekly shopping trips, pick up one or two items on this list. Annually rotate nonperishable foods and check documents to ensure they are up-to-date.


This checklist is relatively new and ongoing endeavors are being made to adequately identify needs. E-mail or write us for your proven stockpile supplies if they are not listed below. 

Power Supplies 

For those who depend on power for equipment or refrigeration, have a back-up power supply (generator, power inverters, charged batteries, adapter plug for vehicle lighter). 

 For devices that use batteries, stock extra batteries.


  • Notebook and pen.
  • Battery-operated lantern (for lip reading and sign language).
  • Visual or sensory alerts.
  • Vibrating/strobe alarm clock.
  • Extra pager, TTY batteries, hearing aid, or implant batteries.
  • Pager/communication devices.
  • Portable, battery-powered television.


  • Manual chair for electric wheelchair users.
  • Pair of heavy-duty gloves for wheeling over debris.
  • Shower chair and toilet riser.
  • Patch kit for flat tires and extra inner tubes.
  • Extra charged battery for a power wheelchair or scooter. (Ask vendor how to charge in emergency situations.) 
  • Assistive devices for eating.
  • Backpack with smaller supplies on this list (to grab and attach to chair).


  • Extra pair of glasses.
  • Extra supply of contact lenses and lens solution.
  • Extra cane tips or telescoping cane.
  • Portable radio with batteries.

All Hazards Stockpile Checklist: SERVICE ANIMAL/PET PREPAREDNESS

Do NOT leave your service animal or pet(s) behind during a disaster. Take him or her with you!

To ensure your safety and the safety of service animals and pets, prepare as suggested by the Humane Society of the U.S. and the American Red Cross. 


  • Make arrangements for someone to care for your animal in times when you cannot get home during a disaster. 
  • Determine places that will take your animal during an evacuation (relative/friend or hotel/motel).
  • Tag or microchip implant each animal.

Important Documentation (Keep in waterproof container.)

  • Breed, color(s), markings, age, sex, neutered or unneutered, any medical and behavioral problems, and medical and feeding schedules. 
  • Describe any unusual habits or markings because many animals look the same (e.g., “tabby cat” or “yellow Lab”), making it difficult to identify otherwise.
  • Service animal identification.
  • Veterinarian name and number.
  • Photo for identification in case you are separated. Put photo on carrier too.
  • Copy of vaccination record.

To-Go Kit of Animal Supply Items

  • Collar and tag for each animal that has your phone number (very important to ensure your pet gets back to you if lost). Put collar on during disaster.
  • Sturdy leash and harness.
  • Well-labeled cage/carrier for each animal (for transport, to prevent escape and for safe return) with animal identification information, your phone number, and photo of animal. Carriers should be large enough for animal to stand and turn around in. 
  • 3-day supply of food and water with can opener, food and water bowls.
  • Bedding, favorite toy, brush and comb.
  • Extra supply of medications.
  • Litter, litter pan, and litter scoop.
  • Plastic bags/paper towels for disposing of feces.

The checklists in this booklet are modeled after recommendations by the  Federal Emergency Management Agency, Red Cross, American Public Health Association, various disability specialists, our own research and the Humane Society of the U.S. 

They are designed to help you prepare for All Hazards, including:

  • Epidemics or pandemics
  • Natural disasters such as severe storms
  • Public health threats caused by new diseases, natural disasters and terrorist attacks
  • Illness or injury
  • Unemployment
  • Other emergencies or disasters

Revised 1/10


KU Life Span Institute

Together Prepared of Douglas County, KS

Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Health Promotion