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Individuals and Families

​A flu pandemic could have a serious impact on your community. But you can lessen this impact as much as possible by being ready. From making an emergency plan, to stocking up on household and medical supplies, there is a lot you can do to help prepare yourself and your family for a flu pandemic.

Step 1: Make a Plan

Tips for All Pennsylvania Residents:

Tips for Parents of School Age Children:

  • Know the school's response plan for a flu pandemic.
  • Make sure that the school has current contact information for you and your family.
  • Know what will be done to protect students, faculty, and staff.
  • Make sure the school supports regular hand washing among students, faculty, and staff.
  • Talk to teachers, administrators, and parent-teacher organizations about possible activities, lesson plans, and exercises that children can do at home if schools are closed. This could include continuing courses by TV or the internet.
  • Plan entertainment and recreational activities that your children can do at home. Have materials, such as reading books, coloring books, and games, on hand for your children to use.

Tips for Adults in the Workforce:

  • Consider making special arrangements for your family in case you are not able to work. Or if you are able to work from home, make sure you have all the needed supplies.
  • Talk with your employer about how your workplace has planned for a flu pandemic.
  • Understand your role in your workplace's flu pandemic plan.
  • Plan for childcare if you are not able to work from home or if childcare facilities are closed.

Step 2: Gather Supplies

To prepare for a flu pandemic, store at least a two-week supply of basic items. Having these supplies at home will help you survive with little to no outside help. It will also help decrease your risk of getting sick since you won't need to go outside into the community to get basic supplies.

Food and Water

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables and beans
  • Canned juices
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter or nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Crackers
  • Canned or jarred baby food and formula
  • Pet foods

Household Supplies

  • Bottled water - at least one gallon per person per day (2 quarts for drinking, 2 quarts for food preparation/sanitation), in clean plastic containers. Avoid using containers that will rot or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles.
  • Non-perishable canned or dried foods that would be easy to make in case you are unable to cook. For example:
    • Cleaning supplies such as bleach and disinfectant sprays
    • Extra blankets
    • Candles
    • Matches
    • Garbage bags
    • Battery-powered radio
    • Manual can opener
    • Flashlight
    • Extra batteries

Medical and Personal Supplies

  • Thermometer
  • Non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Fever medicines
  • Prescription medication and first-aid kits
  • Extra bath and hand soap
  • Toilet paper, tissues, feminine hygiene products and disposable diapers
  • Vision aids, such as glasses or contact solution
  • Dental supplies
  • Entertainment (videos/DVDs, books, magazines, music)
  • Baby supplies
  • Pet supplies


  • Include pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies in your emergency kit.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about evacuation and emergency care for your animals.
  • Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
  • For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. As you prepare your emergency plan, identify an emergency animal shelter location in your area (kennels, adjoining farms, state and local fairgrounds, Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team (PASART), County Animal Response Team (CART), etc.)
  • Know which hotels will accept pets.
  • Have a portable crate available for cats or small dogs and a leash available for larger dogs.
  • Keep all vaccinations current.
  • Make sure identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. Consider microchips and/or tattoos as permanent identification.
  • Have a copy of medical records and a list of necessary medications on hand.
  • If you must leave animals behind, post a highly visible sign - above any anticipated flood water (either on a window or a door) letting rescue workers know the type and number of animals which remain. Leave plenty of food and water with care instructions. Keep the animals contained in the safest place in your home for the type of emergency you are experiencing.

Step 3: Help Your Community Prepare

  • Take the lead in helping your neighborhood or community get ready.
  • Reach out to neighbors who may be elderly or disabled to see what you can do to help them.
  • Get active in your church, school, or social groups by leading talks about planning for a flu pandemic or by inviting speakers from the local health department or hospital.
  • Talk to your co-workers and friends about their plans and share ideas.

To learn more about being prepared, visit, ReadyPA Website