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Emergency Preparedness for People with Diabetes
If you have diabetes, being prepared for an emergency can save your life. Here's what to stock in your emergency supply kit.

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Emergency Preparedness for People with Diabetes

Emergencies and natural disasters are scary to think about. But planning for them is vital - especially if you have a chronic disease like diabetes.

Before disaster strikes, put together an emergency kit. You never know when you may not have access to the things we take for granted every day.

The kit should include items needed by everyone, like water and food. It should also include things you will need for your diabetes, especially if you can't get to a pharmacy. Being prepared can help you avoid a medical emergency.

Keep the smaller items in easy-to-carry containers like duffel bags or backpacks. Make sure you keep them accessible.

Here's a checklist of basic supplies for your kit:

  • Water. One gallon per person per day for at least three days. Necessary for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food. Stock items that are nonperishable and easy to prepare. Those could include peanut butter, crackers, cereal, granola bars and canned foods. Include vitamin, mineral and protein supplements. Don't forget about food for pets.
  • Disposable plates, cups and utensils
  • Copies of important documents. Include lists of allergies and medications, deed to home, passports, birth certificates and insurance policies. Keep them in a waterproof, fireproof, portable container.
  • Emergency contact information
  • Radio, either battery-powered or hand-crank. NOAA weather radio recommended.
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries for radios and flashlights
  • First-aid kit. The American Red Cross provides a list of what to include.
  • Emergency blanket or sleeping bag for each person
  • Household bleach that has 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Cash
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and twist-ties for personal sanitation
  • Sturdy shoes or boots, rain gear and a change of clothing
  • Basic personal hygiene supplies
  • Toilet paper
  • Baby supplies such as diapers, formula and bottles
  • Local maps
  • If you have a cell phone, be sure to keep it charged. You may want to get a self-charger for the phone.

It's a good idea to check your supplies periodically and replace anything that has expired.

Here's a list of diabetes-related supplies to have readily available:

  • Insulin or pills, plus any other medications you take daily. Keep the insulin as cool as you can without freezing it. However, it may be stored at room temperature for 28 days. Keep it away from direct heat and sunlight.
  • Syringes if you inject insulin
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Cotton balls
  • List of prescriptions
  • Blood sugar meter
  • Meter strips
  • Blood sugar diary
  • Insulin pump supplies, if needed
  • Urine testing strips
  • Lancing device and lancets
  • Glucagon emergency kit (if you are on insulin)
  • Fast-acting carbohydrates (glucose tablets, orange juice, etc.)
  • Longer-lasting carbohydrates (such as cheese and cracker packets)
  • Shoes to keep your feet from getting injured

In addition to gathering supplies, make a plan for your family and practice it. Know what you would do if an emergency strikes. Ask your doctor for recommendations on how to be prepared for an emergency.

If you are being evacuated, or you are in any kind of emergency situation, identify yourself as a person with diabetes. If you don't already have one, get a medical ID bracelet. That way, you can receive appropriate care.

By Emily Gurnon, Contributing Writer
Created on 03/09/2010
Updated on 12/12/2012
  • American Diabetes Association. Living with diabetes.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Emergency preparedness and response: Gather emergency supplies.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency. Emergency supply list.
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