Grid with four natural disasters in the background. Circle containing supplies in the center.

Fires, Hurricanes, Tornados, & Derechos: Learning To Be Prepared

Well, it happened. The weather event that “always happens to other people, but never happens to us.” (Derecho in our case). Power out. No internet or cell service. Trees and fences wiped out. Houses destroyed. Banks, grocery stores, and gas stations out of order.

Just the previous day, I had called to refill my daughter’s mail order medication (she has epilepsy, not diabetes). Still, with all the storm damage, her essential medication would likely run out before the mail could get it to us. And with no way to call the pharmacy, we were in a tight spot.

How to make a diabetes disaster plan

As I’ve watched hurricanes beat on the southern and east coasts, and fires strike the west this year, I thought I’d first throw out huge hugs. And then a little advice on prepping for these crises. ‘Cuz it’s 2020. Who knows what else may happen this year.

1. Stock up on medication and supplies

Get a 90-day supply of your medication and monitoring supplies whenever possible. Not only is it typically cheaper, but it also means you’ll be more likely to have a good supply in case an event happens in your area.

2. Communicate with your pharmacy

Talk with your pharmacy (mail order or local) to see how you can get your medication quickly if an event happens. For example, if you use a local pharmacy (instead of a chain pharmacy like Wal-Mart or CVS), what is their emergency plan for getting your medications to you or prescriptions transferred if their building is out of commission? For mail-order pharmacies, same question. And, for mail order, are there chain pharmacies they partner with that will give you access to your medications or prescriptions?

3. Make an emergency bag

Keep all your diabetes supplies (including a few snacks & a water bottle) in one area, so they’re easy to grab if you need to take shelter during a storm. That means you’ll also have them available after the storm in case you have to stay in a shelter or a friend/family member’s home. Consider adding an extra phone charger (or extra phone battery pack) and cash to your emergency stash.

4. Add an extra pair of sneakers

Keep an extra pair of tennis shoes with your emergency diabetes supplies. Glass, nails, and more can be mixed in with storm damage and increase your risk of injuring your feet. Which is the last thing you need if you just lived through a natural disaster.

5. Have a plan for refrigerated meds

If you have medications that need refrigerated, wrap them in a cold towel and tuck them into a cooler with ice.  Don’t have ice? Check with neighbors, friends, or family to see if they have a generator you can use to run your fridge or a cooler they’d let you add your medications to.

This is just the beginning - the tip of the iceberg as they say. There are so many things to think about in being prepared. Thankfully the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists have put together checklists and tips for you. Check it out and then plan for the worst and hope for the best!

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