Register now with your county Office of Emergency Management if you have special medical needs. Bring at least three days of medical supplies you will need including: special food, water, prescriptions, nebulizer, syringes, sterile swabs and oxygen equipment. Important: Special needs shelters do not provide hands-on medical care so you may want to bring a caregiver with you. You may need to keep back-up medical items on hand such as a battery for ventilator and oxygen cylinders (48-hour supply).
If you require respirators or other electric-dependent medical equipment, you should make prior medical arrangements with your physician. You should also register with your power company.
If you require oxygen or other medical supplies, check with your vendor about emergency plans.
A physician must be notified if you or someone you know needs hospitalization. Keep in mind there are a limited number of resources available during disasters such as hurricanes.
For home health care and homebound patients, inform your health care provider where you will be during a hurricane and ask about their emergency plans. Remember to take medications, written instructions regarding your care, special equipment and bedding with you if you evacuate.
ADVISE FOR OLDER ADULTS
Those who live alone, or are without the support of family or friends, must take special precautions in the event of an emergency situation. People who are frail or disabled (either mentally or physically) may need special assistance from family members, friends or social service agencies. Older adults who are also caregivers may require outside assistance. Excessive stress and anxiety can contribute to increased episodes of illness-particularly for persons with heart disease and other illnesses. If an older adult lives in a nursing home, assisted living facility or boarding home, the administrator should be contacted to learn about the disaster plan.
If you do not have transportation or are unable to drive, assistance may be available. Each local county offers some type of help to make sure you can get out of the storm's path. Check with your county's Office of Emergency Management (phone numbers are on the map pages of this guide) to find detailed information about routes to assist you in the event of an evacuation.
PLANNING FOR PHARMACEUTICALS
For many people, medication isn't a luxury – it's a necessity. Running out could lead to other health complications or even send them to the hospital. That's why it's important to have an adequate supply of medicine available, especially during hurricane season.
It's always a good idea to order prescription refills 5-7 days before your medicine will run out.
If a hurricane hits and your regular pharmacy isn't open, bring your prescription bottle to another pharmacy. The staff will use the information on the label to refill your medication. Also remember to bring your insurance card.
Even if you're forced to evacuate, you can still refill your prescriptions. Try a new pharmacy wherever you decide to evacuate. They may be able to access your prescription records electronically and help you with emergency needs. Ordering refills online or over the phone is also a good idea for fast service.
But the best advice is: Never wait until the last minute to refill your medicine. It's the only way to ensure you continue taking your medication as your doctor prescribed.