Cathy Citron-Bilovsky, Ph.D.
Licensed Marriage and
Family Therapist

Preparing for Emergencies

In light of the recent earthquake and tsunami disasters and nuclear crisis, I have provided some suggestions in preparation for emergency situations. The American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have issued guidelines for gathering items you and your family as well as your pets may need. Here are some ideas for you: 

Make sure you carry current identification and emergency contact information with you at all times. ( Red Cross has a template for an emergency contact card). You can get one through this link:

Create a plan for yourself and loved ones. Select a meeting place for you all to gather. If possible, have a location near your home. A second location can be a place away from the danger zone, in case of fire, earthquake or flood.
Specify emergency contacts outside of your area to increase your chances of making a connection if local lines are inoperable.

Prepare emergency kits for home, car and office, with some, if not all, of the following items:

•Personalize your kit with items you know you will need in addition to the ones I suggest that have been recommended by the Red Cross and FEMA.


•Water (1 gallon/person/day - 3 day supply for evacuation - 2 week supply for home), first aid kit, packaged food with long shelf life, food bars, canned food, manual can opener, utensils and disposable or reusable plates


•Personal items: hand sanitizers, soap, paper towels, toilet paper, scissors, towels, sanitation and personal hygiene items, moisturizer, sunblock, extra clothing, hat, sturdy shoes, rain poncho


•Your prescription medicines and supplements and other medical supplies: eyeglasses, contact lenses, syringes, hearing aids with extra batteries, cane, walker, diapers

•Baby and Toddler - bottles, formula, baby food, diapers, blanket, favorite toy, pacifier, clothes, hat, sunglasses, medicine


•Communication: spare cell phone charger, a hand-crank am/fm radio with flashlight & cell phone charger, extra batteries, two-way radio


•Cash and Documents: extra cash, copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information), proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, maps of your area


•Household supplies: tools for securing your home, blankets or sleeping bags, light stick, lantern, face mask, rubber gloves, duct tape, trash bags, tent, nylon rope, work gloves, emergency candles, flashlights, waterproof matches, bucket (for use as a toilet), plastic bags for disposal of bucket waste, whistle with neck cord, extra set of car keys and house keys, plastic sheeting, household liquid bleach


•Pet supplies: collar, leash, ID, food and treats, poop bags, carrier, bowls, medicine, brush/comb


•Diversions: entertainment items, deck of cards and items to entertain kids


Be Prepared

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health


What you may be feeling

When we experience a disaster or other stressful life event, we can have a variety of reactions, all of which can be common responses to difficult situations.


These reactions can include:
• Feeling physically and mentally drained.
• Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused on topics.
• Becoming short tempered on a regular basis.
• Anger and frustration occurring more quickly and more often.
• Arguing more with family and friends.
• Feeling tired, sad, numb, lonely or worried.
• Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns.


Most of these reactions are temporary and will go away over time. Try to accept whatever reactions you may have. Be compassionate toward yourself and others. Look for ways to take one step at a time and focus on taking care of your disaster-related needs and those of your family.


You can go to the American Red Cross website at: or FEMA’s website at: Also the Los Angeles Times website at: has articles about disaster preparedness as a resource for you.


Cathy Citron-Bilovsky, Ph.D.
16944 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 7
Encino, California 91316

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