New Beginnings Mini-Lesson: Emergency Preparedness

Key points

  • Problems and unexpected challenges are a normal part of life. For people with diabetes, minor problems can have a major effect on their health if they're not prepared to deal with them.
  • This module contains a discussion on preparing for emergencies and natural disasters such as hurricanes, snowstorms, and earthquakes.


Discussion time: 15 to 20 minutes

Ask: What are some things you think a person with diabetes needs to do to be ready for an emergency? What do you do in your house to prepare for an emergency?

Make an emergency supply kit with items such as:

  • Water: One gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food: At least a 3-day supply of nonperishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries

Other important items to remember:

  • Always have glucose tablets or juice with sugar in it with you to treat low blood sugar.
  • Let people know you have diabetes by wearing an ID bracelet or carrying a card in your wallet.
  • Take your medicines and check your blood sugar regularly.
  • Keep a list of all of your medical conditions, medicines (prescription and over the counter), pharmacies, and doctors in a waterproof, sealed bag.
  • If you have an insulin pump, write down important information such as the name of the manufacturer and the model number in case you need to get a new one.
  • Have extra supplies on hand for testing your blood sugar.
  • If you have an insulin pump, make sure you have extra batteries in a waterproof bag.
  • Plan how to keep in touch with family members.
  • Keep phone numbers of out-of-town family or friends you can call in case of emergency.
  • Discuss your emergency plan with your family members or friends so they're aware.


Think-Pair-Share about emergency preparedness

The goal of this activity is for participants to identify tasks they need to do to be ready for an emergency. They will first think about steps to take, share what they've considered, then share with the group.

  • Ask participants to work in small groups.
  • Ask participants to think about what they have at home for emergencies. Identify items they have and items they need.
  • Ask participants to identify 3 things they will do in the next week to get ready for an emergency.
  • Ask participants to share their ideas for getting ready for an emergency.

Close the session

Ask participants to visit Ready.Gov to review the resources and suggestions listed there.

How to use this mini-lesson

This lesson has activities and questions to lead a small group discussion with people who have diabetes. It can be used as part of an existing class or as a stand-alone activity.

This discussion can be led by a diabetes care and education specialist, health educator, community health worker, or anyone with experience leading support groups.

Going virtual tips

Take a few minutes at the beginning of the session to explain the ground rules for virtual sessions. For example:

  • Mute video or phone when not speaking.
  • Say your name before speaking (especially on the phone).
  • Participants are not required to have or use a video camera. They can use a photo of themselves instead.

Use the virtual whiteboard to brainstorm ways to be prepared for emergencies or modify the Think-Pair-Share activity to a "round robin". See Connecting Thread: Facilitating New Beginnings Online for ideas on how to adapt activities.