#5: Plan for Medical Needs

In the event of a major disaster, it is possible that we could face evacuation and be away from our homes for weeks or longer. If evacuation is ordered, doctors’ offices and pharmacies will close.  Now is the time to plan for how you will obtain your prescriptions and medical supplies when you’re away from home.Image result for picture of prescription bottle

  • Medication Supply Checklist:
    • Make a list of the names of all medications, including over-the-counter medications, that you take regularly.  List dosages and times, the condition for which you take a medication, and the name and phone number of the doctor who prescribed it.  Take a photo of the list with your phone.
    • Work with your doctor(s) to get 2-week emergency supplies of medications and extra written copies of prescriptions.
    • Ask about the shelf life of your medications and the temperatures at which they should be stored. This helps ensure that a medicine’s effectiveness does not weaken.
    • If you take medications (such as methadone, chemotherapy, dialysis, or radiation therapy) administered to you by a clinic or hospital, ask your provider how to prepare for a disruption.
    • Find out if your mail order prescription company will ship to an address different than the one on file and how long it takes to make an address change.
  • Medical Equipment Supply Checklist
    • Now is the time to plan for how you will obtain any essential  medical equipment if you evacuate. Decide if you will take it with you or rent it at your evacuation site.
    • If you will rent it, identify suppliers in the area to which you plan to evacuate. Check with them to make sure they will have what you require in the event of a disaster. Remember that many people will have similar needs which may limit supplies available.  Have a back up plan.  Take photos of the model/serial numbers of your equipment in case you have to clarify what you use at home to rental suppliers.
    • Obtain back up power supplies for equipment including batteries for hearing aids, CPAP machines, and wheelchairs.
    • Identify evacuation sites that can accommodate your needs.
  • Obtain extras of any medical supplies you may need such as bandages, sanitation items, or syringes.
  • Take photos of your insurance cards.
  • Update your medical alert information on your phone. For more information about how to do this, click here. Consider providing information to 911 services with the Smart911 system.
    This service helps 9-1-1 protect your family by providing more information to first responders. For more information, click here. If you have already signed up, don’t forget that you need to review your Smart911 Safety Profile at least once every 6 months.
  • Discuss with your providers how to obtain care in the event of an evacuation or clinic closures. Ask whether telehealth appointments available for you to access care remotely by phone or computer video.

Remember, be prepared, stay safe.

Tidelines Editors

(Image credit: gettyimages.com)