Disasters and emergencies can happen to anyone at any time and sometimes without warning. It helps to have a plan in place if you have a chronic condition that requires the use of medical devices. Your local officials may or may not have prepared for your needs, so planning for an emergency before it happens is very important.
- Ask your local officials if there is a plan for oxygen delivery, providing a power source for your equipment and where emergency shelters are located.
- Contact your local power/utility companies and let them know that you have special needs and get on their priority list for restoring power.
- If you are using ventilatory support, suction, a medical air compressor, CPAP or need to use your oxygen continuously consider purchasing a generator or portable batteries.
- Have appropriate supplies (1-2 weeks) of medications, food and water.
- Make sure you have a way to contact someone for help if your telephone or power is out of service. Purchase a battery that will charge your cell phone.
- If using an oxygen concentrator make sure you have an oxygen cylinder as back up.
- Know how to contact your medical supplier in an emergency.
- Keep a list of all your medical equipment and the type, model and make and settings used.
- For ventilator patients always have a bag/mask device available.
- ALWAYS take the power cord for your machines, short trips or not.
- Find out if there is an inhaler version of any medications you are taking with a nebulizer in case of a power outage.
- If any medications require refrigeration have a plan for keeping them cold.
- If you know a storm is coming and you may be forced to evacuate, be sure to have a full tank of gas in your car.
This list should help you devise a plan that will keep you and your loved ones safe during an emergency or disaster. Don’t wait for an emergency to happen, plan ahead.