Disaster Preparedness


This question came to mind for me primarily because I live in Southern California and we have earthquakes, but then I realized it could be applicable in any situation where there could be a natural disaster or otherwise.

If there is a website or two somewhere that gives tips about this, please feel free to mention it. Otherwise, how do you all make provisions in case of a disaster? In Southern California, one is supposed to have an earthquake kit with supplies for at least a few days, and you're supposed to check it every year for expired items. How would this work for an insulin-dependent person? Insulin is supposed to be kept refrigerated if you're not going to use it within a few months, correct? I'm on Humalog and Lantus.

Looking forward to hearing your replies...

So no tips about how to store insulin/is there an insulin that’s storable for long periods of time without refrigeration? I’m trying to get my head around this… It’s one thing to have stuff for lows, but what does one do about the opposite? If you have only high carb food and you can’t eat it without problems, is it best not to eat? Just curious…

I guess if you are stuck in a disaster situation, you can only hope that it won’t be too long before you have access to insulin if you can’t keep it in your kit… It seems like something that pharmaceutical companies haven’t considered…?

Have your prescriptions in one of the national chains, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aide, Walmart, etc in the event you have to leave the area.

I have most of the stuff Alan talked about. AS for insulin, I get it out of the frige as soon as we get tornado watches. I live in tornado alley. Not the same as earthquakes but that’s what I do. I don’t know if that would work for you though.

Would a small refrigerator work in the same place where the emergency kit is kept? The problem with a kit is what if you’re trapped in an area where you can’t access it!? Hmmmm… We’re in a tornado zone and I’ve never really thought about it but that would work for me because we would take shelter in the basement and a emergency kit and small frig in that area would be perfect. I could just store insulin there and move it upstairs as I go through it. The suggestion of having your prescription at a chain pharmacy is good, the problem would be getting your insurance to cover a prescription refill if you’re not technically due. You’d have to prove there was an earthquake “somehow” Ha!

Yeah, covered there – Rite Aid is the closest pharmacy. It’s actually a good strategy for if you’re traveling around the states as well. I was close to running out of test strips & needles and I was able to refill at a Rite Aid where I was staying.

I live in SoCal as well, but always just figured I hit the nearest CVS for any extra Insulin in the event of an emergency. Usually, I have an extra 1/2 vial and I tend to hold on to the old ones just in case (I have my own spot in the fridge, yay!).

For earthquakes in a dense metropoltian area, they arent as bad as one might think. For instance the Northrige quake of '94 was a 6.7 for 45 seconds. Buildings were condemed, but meds were not a problem to get and only a short ways away. I.E., nearest hospital, Druggist, etc. Freeways fell and what not, but I dont recall any buildings that werent condemed closing.

So possibly having a 6-7 day supply is recommended. Just In case you have to travel some 30 miles to the next town over (walking?). As for storage, a mini car fridge would be good for storage. Its fairly easy to keep the car/generator running to cool insulin and its fairly small. Personally, Im unaware of any non cooled insulin. Earthquakes in populated areas like So Cal are one thing though, disasters in someplace like the 9th ward is a whole another story…

Hmmm. Trying to think about this. Live in an apt. building and maybe I could check to see whether there’s electricity in the garage? Not sure… Perhaps best to get in touch with the CERT people and see what they advise.

Well an earthquake large enough to cause significant damage headlines here, even one that doesn’t, and I’ve heard of earthquake news reaching even as far as NYC (where the rest of my family is) when it’s as “strong” as 4.0, so maybe I have a chance of proof in that case… One can only hope…

Thanks for the feedback, Doris & barb!

A car fridge! Never heard of that – thanks, I’ll investigate it.

Glad to hear you survived Northridge.

Grab and run. Keep your insulin in the fridge. I use a case when I travel. It is made by Frio. I soak it in water and it keeps insulin at a storeable temp for up to 5 days. Not as cold as a fridge but, under the circumstance of a disaster, I would not worry. I went on a cruise for 2 weeks and never put my insulin in the fridge. I was told you cannot count on the temp in it. Never a problem.

Possibly something like this (link) and then pick up an inverter (link). That way you can charge it in car as well as from standard outlets.

This is my suggestions. Perhaps there is a better suggestion some where else. I would cycle the insulin from fridge, to prepardness bag, if not used move to your immediate supply. Maybe 30 days cycle.

I never lived in a Earthquake Zone. But I did grow up in Florida. Hurricanes. I remember when a store approached it was always about gathering and preparing my STUFF!..It was collected and placed with all the other storm prepardness stuff. Hurricanes approach slowly and people can react to it differantly.

It is interesting that you bring this topic up this week, the anniversary of the Katrina Hurricane. I recall the newscoverage telling us that people were dying in shelters, because they did not have there insulin or medication. Help could not get too them quick enough. They were standing on top of their roofs waiting for someone to rescue them. This is serious.

Personally I try to keep my 90 day supply ready and prepared in the fridge.

What would you keep in your prepardness bag? Here is my list.

Syringes, dry socks, extra shoes, insulin, insulin pump supplies,testing supplies, batteries, back up battery, money, parishable food, medical identification bracelet.

As for the cellphone… It will be usless in a major event. Cellphones will not work if the storm blew down the towers or Earthquake tumbled them down. And trust me the local CVS will not be open 24 hours.

Hi, if you glance at some of the comments that have been posted on the Bikers with Diabetes group forum, you may come up with some more ideas. Keep in mind, that some bikers will be on the road for a month and must continue to keep their insulin. I did a quick search and found an interesting small fridge which works with a USB connector. http://usb.brando.com/prod_detail.php?prod_id=00286 . (I have not tried it) You can easily find a battery adaptor that would power this one or there is many more mini fridges at the following link - http://www.easybizchina.com/mini-fridge-manufacturers.html . Good luck, and I hope that you do not see any earthquakes or tornadoes.

A few gallons of bottled drinking water. Tornado, earthquake,or floods can leave you without tap water or contaminate the tap water. I think that was the first thing most people wanted in Katrina was a drink of some clean water.

Ive always been curious if my water filter gear for backpacking would work in a disaster situation like that. I own the MSR Miniworks (link)..

Me too! Thanks for the links, I will check them out!

This is very helpful – thank you. I took a CERT class a couple of years ago, and the fire department guy who was teaching it told us over and over – “remember, we’re not coming.” That is to say, they may not be able to get to people for a while, depending on the severity of the disaster. Scary, but if anyone’s going to be “real,” it’s going to be people who deal with emergencies regularly…

I have one also. I’m pretty sure you can stick it in a really nasty puddle in the road and drink from that. But if there is an earthquake or tornado a filter is only helpful if you can find a puddle.

Yeah, working for a water district, I’m pretty aware of water quality… CERT class taught me ways to purify water in case of an emergency. Now to review that stuff…

I did a blog post about this a few months ago and there were also some good tips there.