Stay Healthy

Washing Hands

It’s not enough to Prepare Your Health with personal needs and prescriptions, you also need to know how to protect it from post-disaster threats that might include power outages, closures of pharmacies and outpatient care facilities, disruptions of public transportation, and a limited availability of supplies. It is important that you know how to preserve and protect your family’s health in response to adversity.

  • Check the batteries in your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors at least once a month to prevent CO poisoning. CO is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.
  • Pre-identify emergency departments, urgent care centers, dialysis centers, hemophilia treatment centers, veterinarians, etc. near your home and along your designated evacuation route.
  • Learn and teach others practical skills, including safe generator use, to prepare for post-disaster health hazards, such as carbon monoxide.
  • Pet owners: Pre-identify shelters, a pet-friendly hotel, or an out-of-town friend or relative where you can take your pets in an evacuation. Local animal shelters may be able to offer advice on what to do with your pets if you are asked to evacuate your home.
  • Contact your water and power companies to get on a “priority reconnection service” list of power-dependent customers if you rely on electrical medical equipment.
  • Remove, use, and replace any food and water, prescription medications, and supplies before they expire. Inspect all food and prescription medication before use. Throw away canned goods that become swollen, dented, or corroded. Check the look and smell of your medications before you use them. If you are unsure about their safety, contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider.
  • Learn about insulin storage in an emergency that may include flooding or a power outage. Insulin in its original vial, cartridge, or pen can be kept at room temperature (59°F-86°F) for up to 28 days and is safe to use. Do not use insulin that has been frozen.
  • Safely dispose of expired, unwanted, and unused medicinesexternal icon, including prescription medications, to help prevent adverse drug events at home and when traveling.
  • Put appliance thermometers in your freezer and fridge to help you determine if food is safeexternal icon after a power outage.
  • If you rely on dialysis and know a disaster (e.g., a hurricane) is coming, talk to the healthcare professionals at your facility about scheduling treatment before it happens.
  • Dialysis patients: Prepare to follow a 3-Day Emergency Dietpdf iconexternal icon to limit the buildup of water, protein wastes, and potassium if you are on dialysis but cannot get treatments.
  • Users of home use medical devices: Show people in your personal support network, including family, friends, and neighbors, how to operate and maintain your medical equipment and devices.
Page last reviewed: April 6, 2020, 11:20 AM