Natural disasters – hurricanes, fires, floods, severe storms and tornadoes – can happen with little warning, so make sure you and your family are prepared. That means having supplies and information on hand, as well as knowing the procedures to follow:
Prepare in Advance
- Consider investing in a generator and learn how to use it.
- Stock up on necessities, especially drinking water, food, first aid kits, flashlights and batteries.
- Always keep a list of contact numbers, including your specialty pharmacy, PH doctor/clinic and emergency contacts with you.
- Keep a copy of your electrocardiogram (EKG) in case you need to go to the local emergency room so the emergency professionals can see your “normal” heart rhythm.
- In case of emergency, call 911.
If you are a member of a PHA support group, exchange numbers with the leader and other members to keep in touch during unexpected events. Connect to PHA and local PHers on social media. It’s a fast, easy way to convey information in crisis.
Plan Your Evacuation
- Be sure you have a safe place to go and a way to travel if you need to evacuate. If you are driving, obtain a full tank of gas as soon as you learn of an impending storm.
- Keep your insurance cards with you when you leave home.
- If you have pets and need to evacuate, make sure you identify pet-friendly hotels. Most shelters don’t accept pets. Check with your local vet about shelters and learn more on the CDC website: cdc.gov/disasters/petshelters.html.
- Keep a list of all your medications with you at all times.
Manage Your Medications
Power outages are dangerous for those on infusion medication and those who use oxygen. Contact your power company about your health condition so it lists you as high priority in a power outage. Work with your health provider to complete/submit paperwork to ensure your power stays on in an outage. If it looks like businesses could be closed and shipments disrupted for an extended period of time, ask your PH care team if you can get extra medication and/or supplies (cassettes, syringes, etc.). Some insurance companies will allow early refills for emergency/disaster assistance.
If you are running low on medication, need to change your medication shipment address or have another therapy access concern, contact your specialty pharmacy. Find pharmacies open in disaster-affected areas at rxopen.org/.
Specialty Pharmacy contact information:
- Accredo/Express Scripts: 866-344-4874
- AllianceRx Walgreens Prime: 800-445-3674
- Cigna Tel-Drug: 855-326-7463
- CVS/Caremark: 877-242-2738
- Humana Specialty Pharmacy: 855-478-8405
- OptumRX: 855-856-0536
Gather extra supplies:
- Keep a supply of extra distilled water for inhaled therapy devices or CPAP machines.
- If you use oxygen, contact your oxygen company to have your tanks filled to avoid running short. Also ask about extra batteries.
- Infusion patients need to ensure their infused medication is never interrupted or discontinued.
Read more about infusion medication and oxygen tips.