3-Step Disaster Plan

Protect your family against natural calamity by preparing grab-and-go bags, a communication plan, and emergency supplies.

Natural Disaster Preparation ADDitude Magazine

Planning, prioritizing, and organizing aren't exactly an ADDer's strong suit.


How to De-Stress During a Disaster

Disasters cause severe emotional stress, and stress aggravates ADHD traits, like impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity. The best way to de-stress during a disaster is to retain as many familiar routines as possible - homework times, meal times, and so on. Exercise and deep breathing can help, too.

Talking About Disasters

Talking about disasters can be frightening for young children. If you're unsure how to describe what might happen in a disaster, or how your family will respond, go to ready.gov/kids.


When it comes to reacting to a flood, hurricane, blackout, or another disaster, people with ADHD seem to have a leg up. Their "can-do" attitude, coupled with a knack for outside-the-box thinking, help them make smart decisions in situations that might overwhelm people who think, well, a bit more slowly.

Of course, it's much easier to react to a disaster when you're prepared for it. Alas, the skills required for disaster preparedness — planning, prioritizing, and organizing — aren't exactly an ADDer's strong suit. No wonder you've been putting off making the preparations you know are necessary — the kind that might save a life.

Fortunately, I'm here to help. To make it easier for you and your family to get ready for any disaster that might come your way, follow these three steps.

1. Prepare a grab-and-go bag for each family member

A grab-and-go bag (see below) is a backpack or small suitcase on wheels that you pack ahead of time, in the event a disaster forces you to leave town.

In addition to his or her grab-and-go bag, one person in the family should also carry a first-aid kit containing common over-the-counter medications, as well as a two-week supply of all prescription drugs used by family members. (If your insurance will not cover this, buy them out of pocket.) This person can also be responsible for a small battery-operated radio, an extra set of keys (car, home, and safety deposit box), and cash.


  • two small bottles of water
  • four high-protein, high-calorie energy bars, or a similar quantity of trail mix, dried fruit, or granola
  • change of clothes (in a young child’s grab-and-go bag, pack extra underwear, as kids under stress tend to have “accidents”)
  • toothpaste, toothbrush, tampons, razor, and travel-size toiletries
  • lightweight flashlight (with extra batteries in a baggie)
  • multi-blade knife
  • spare pair of eyeglasses
  • antibacterial hand sanitizer
  • plastic bags for food
  • writing pad, pen or pencil, and disposable camera (so you can document emergency expenditures, damage, repairs, and so on)


    A Routine That Works for Your ADHD Child
    Customize this hour-by-hour routine for your ADHD child -- and make your day less stressful.

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    TAGS: Organization Tips for ADD Adults, To Do Lists, Travel and Vacation Tips

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