Be Prepared: Creating Your Own Emergency Plan and Kit

From the inconvenience of a short power outage to a more serious situation such as a natural disaster, you need to be prepared to continue your medication therapies and health practices without interruption. No matter what the disaster, being prepared with a home emergency kit that includes your medical needs can help ensure your comfort and safety.

The Department of Homeland Security suggests familiarizing yourself with the types of disasters and emergencies that are the most common in the area you live, such as tornados, forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes or flooding.[1] Knowing what you might face can make it easier to prepare.

Planning Tips for Your Medical Needs

It’s important to have a plan whether you need to shelter in place for a short time or evacuate your home. As you prepare for possible emergencies in your area, make it a priority to prep for your personal medical circumstances and how best to respond to any situation.

Tip #1: Keep a written emergency contact list that includes names and numbers for family, your doctors, or anyone else you might need to get a hold of in case you don’t have access to your cell phone or the internet. Make sure to write down your prescription numbers and insurance phone numbers in case you need to get a refill or an emergency fill with the pharmacy.

Tip #2: Always have a set of your daily pills prepared in a way you can grab and go. However, it's possible you might need the actual bottles in case you need to refill. Check with your doctor about an additional week supply (or more) of all medications, including insulin, if prescribed.

Tip #3: Make sure to pack medical supplies like diabetes test strips, blood pressure monitor, a spare pair of eyeglasses and batteries for hearing aids. It is also not a bad idea to have an AED (automated external defibrillator) on hand.

Tip #4: If you rely on medical devices that require power like an oxygen tank, C-pap machine or home dialysis equipment, make sure you have enough portable supplies on hand. Be sure to create a plan for alternative sources of portable power, like a generator, to charge these devices that are vital to your health maintenance.

Tip #5: Keep a list of alternative power provider locations where you can go if an evacuation becomes necessary. Ask your nearby police, fire departments and hospital if you could use them as a backup for your equipment power if your backup systems fail.

Tip #6: Store important documents, including passports and birth certificates, in a flood safe place in resealable watertight plastic bags. Make sure to include copies of your medical ID cards, prescription ID cards and vaccination records.

Build an Emergency Kit

Having a fully stocked emergency kit ready is a great way to ensure you have everything you need for whatever comes your way. FEMA recommends having enough food, water and basic survival supplies to last for at least 72 hours. Your kit should include: [2,3]

  • First-aid kit that includes prescription medications, pain reliever, antiseptic medications, band-aids, vitamins, triple antibiotic ointment to prevent infection, hand sanitizer and N95 or surgical masks.
  • Water - the recommendation is one gallon per person per day for several days (for drinking and sanitation)
  • Nonperishable food like nuts, protein bars, oatmeal packets, honey packets, freeze-dried meals made for long-term shelf storage. Don’t forget to pack a manual can opener and some disposable utensils, plates and cups.
  • Extra batteries, portable cell phone charger and battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
  • Warm blanket or sleeping bag
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Local maps of the area in the event that you can't use electronic devices to seek alternate routes.
  • Extra clothing and sturdy shoes
  • $200 in cash and in small change in case of an outage with the banks. If possible, include some coins as well.

Don't Forget Your Pets

Knowing your pets are safe and ready to evacuate with you also can help lower stress during an emergency situation. The American Red Cross recommends determining which hotels along the evacuation route will accept pets.[4] Be sure to call ahead for reservations if you know you will be evacuating and ask if no pet policies can be waived in an emergency. Helpful pet supplies for your emergency kit include an up-to-date vaccination record, medications stored in a waterproof container and a sturdy leash to ensure safe transport.

Maintain your Plan and Kit:

The most important thing in an emergency is that you are safe and you have what you need to maintain your health. Planning for a potential emergency is the best way to avoid any further health complications. Make a plan now with your family and prepare what you need to keep you protected.

[1] Department of Homeland Security (2022). Low and Not Cost Preparedness.

[2] Federal Emergency Management Agency (2020). How to Build a Kit for Emergencies.

[3] American Red Cross (2022). Survival Kit Supplies.

[4] American Red Cross (2022). Pet Disaster Preparedness.,-Keep%20items%20in&text=Sturdy%20leashes%2C%20harnesses%20and%2For,stored%20in%20a%20waterproof%20container.

S7694_22-7025_enewsletter 2022_C Reviewed 10/20/22

*Other pharmacies are available in our network

Elixir Insurance is a Prescription Drug Plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Elixir Insurance depends on contract renewal. For more information, please call our customer service number at 833-684-7267. TTY users call 711. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ATTENTION: If you speak Spanish, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 833-684-7267 (TTY: 711). ATENCIÓN: si habla Español, los servicios de asistencia lingüística, sin cargo, están disponibles para usted. Llamada 833-684-7267 (TTY: 711).

Elixir Insurance, 7835 Freedom Avenue NW, North Canton, OH 44720, United States

Topics: Helpful Tips

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