Everyone needs to be prepared for disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes that often occur without warning and can seriously threaten lives. This is especially true if you have a chronic illness such as diabetes. Even a simple power outage can be life-threatening. That is why The Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition (DDRC) urges all people with diabetes and their loved ones to prepare for a disaster by putting together a diabetes emergency kit and making, a plan to stay healthy and safe during a disaster and in its aftermath.
The DDRC created a Patient Preparedness Plan to help people with diabetes face the unique challenges of effectively managing their diabetes during times of disaster. Major storms and hurricanes may knock out electricity for hours, days or longer, making it challenging to refrigerate or store life-saving insulin. Medication and diabetes supplies may be lost, damaged or run out, and drinking water and healthy food may be difficult to find.
“When life is in a crisis mode, diabetes adds even more obstacles,” Kelly Mueller, Vice President, American Diabetes Association and Co-Chair of the DDRC, said in a press release. “We know securing medication can be a challenge. Our goal, as a coalition, is to ensure that people with diabetes have fast and adequate access to health care, information, and supplies.”
You don’t want to be caught in a disaster without your medication and diabetes supplies. Go ahead and download the Patient Preparedness Plan now! You’ll find a checklist of critical supplies, valuable information, and guidelines on how to prepare for an emergency.
The following information can also be helpful before, during and after a disaster.
Emergency Supply Kit. Your emergency supply kit should have at least a weeks’ worth of diabetes supplies including oral medication, insulin, insulin delivery supplies, lancets, extra batteries for your meter and/or pump, and a quick-acting source of glucose such as glucose tablets, fruit juice or regular soda. You may also want to have an extra glucagon emergency kit. All these items should be kept in a portable, insulated, waterproof container, and stored in a location that is easy to get to in an emergency.
Emergency Contacts and Medical Documents. Your emergency supply kit should also contain contact information for your health care provider, pharmacy and at least two emergency contacts. Also, a letter from your diabetes healthcare provider with your most recent medication regimen, your health insurance card, living will, and health care power of attorney. If you are a parent of a child in school or daycare, physician’s orders that may be on file with your child’s school or daycare provider should also be included.
General Support: During a disaster, The American Diabetes AssociationCenter for Information, 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383), is available to direct you to helpful resources and answer non-medical questions.
Prescriptions During an Emergency: Rx Open is a free service that helps patients find nearby open pharmacies in areas impacted by a disaster. This site will also track any “pop-up” or mobile pharmacies (e.g., Walmart, CVS) that may be available on the ground after a disaster.
If a state of Emergency is declared in your state, check with your current pharmacies to see if you are eligible for an emergency override, which allows you to get more medication than is typically prescribed during a time period.
Get the Latest Information: Visit DDRC’s Facebook page or diabetes.org/disaster relief to get the latest information on how to access medical support, disaster status, shelters, open pharmacies and more.