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Preparing for an Emergency

There is no better time than the present to prepare for an emergency. If a natural disaster (such as a flood, earthquake, or hurricane) occurs, infrastructure, water systems, and communication will likely be impacted, preventing you from accessing certain necessities for a period of time.1,2,3

If haven’t already created an emergency kit, please consider making one a priority. Being prepared can help lessen the stress of an emergency. Stress can wreak havoc on your health; in particular, your blood glucose control.

*Check your emergency kit a few times throughout the year to ensure that everything in your kit is current and has not expired. Keep your kit in an easy to find location and avoid storing it in places such as your basement or attic.

Items to Keep in Your Emergency Kit


  • An updated hard copy of your medical record or a recent chart note from your physician that clearly states your medical history
  • Keep a copy of your current health insurance card(s) with your medical record.


  • A hard copy of all your current prescription medications that includes: doses, strengths, and instructions for use.
  • You may also want to include a hard copy of any over the counter medications, dietary supplements, and herbal supplements you take on a regular basis.


  • This includes a hard copy of phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses of your health care provider, pharmacy, immediate family, and close friends.


  • A 30-day supply of all medication (including oral medications and injectable medication such as insulin). If it is not possible to keep a 30-day supply in your emergency kit have at least a 3-day supply.1
  • Avoid getting below a 1 week supply when at home


  • To avoid exposing medications to temperature extremes. Insulin, for example, will spoil if exposed to high temperatures.


Have at least a 3-day supply of all of your diabetes medical supplies:1,2,3

  • Blood glucose meter and plenty of extra batteries for your meter
  • Blood glucose test strips
  • Lancing device
  • Lancets
  • Syringes or pen needle tips
  • Alcohol swabs (for blood glucose testing and injections)
  • Empty plastic bottle or sharps container for disposal of lancets, syringes, and pen needle tips
  • Treatment for hypoglycemia
    • Glucose tablets, glucose gel, juice, or regular pop
    • Glucagon emergency kit (for those who take insulin) for treatment of a severe low blood glucose
  • Ketone test strips (for those who take insulin)
  • If you use an insulin pump keep the following additional items in your emergency kit:
    • Extra infusion sets and reservoirs
    • Batteries for pump
    • Hard copy of your most current pump settings. This information will be needed in the event that you cannot use your pump and need to go back to insulin injections for a period of time.


  • 3-day supply of bottled water1,2
    • “The American Red Cross and FEMA recommend storing one gallon of water per person per day.” Half of the water should be used for hydration and other half for cooking and sanitation1


  • 3-day supply of non-perishable foods. Examples include: canned foods (and can opener), peanut butter crackers, granola bars, protein bars, turkey jerky and packaged nuts.


  • Comfortable clothing, socks and undergarments
  • Closed toe shoes


  • Bandages, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, and alcohol swabs


  • Body wipes, cleansing clothes, feminine hygiene products


  • Blankets, pillow, sanitation items (i.e. hand wipes and hand sanitizer)

Organizations that can help and provide additional guidelines and support:

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Katzki L. Disaster Preparedness and Diabetes. Diabetes Self-Management. July 22, 2016. Access April 12, 2018.
  2. My Diabetes Emergency Plan. The American College of Endocrinology. Published 2016. Accessed April 12, 2018.
  3. The Disaster Response Task Force. American Diabetes Association Statement of Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Diabetes Care. 2017; 30 (9): 2395-2398.