Insulin Preparedness and Storage During a Catastrophe

I was just a little kid in the 89 earthquake but remember spending the night in the family station wagon while my mom performed emergency medical care at the hospital…

I was in a high rise building when it hit. Had I not stopped to talk to my boss at the end of the workday, I’d have been stuck in an elevator for over an hour. Scary stuff, considering I’m a T1 who at the time wasn’t well controlled, AND I got low on the way home, as I watched the traffic signals sway from aftershocks. Then I get home to find water sloshed out of my pool, my toolbox nearly rolled into our other car parked in the garage. Then we kept having aftershocks for months afterwards, that felt like a giant sledgehammer slamming into the house. Just a single hard, lateral jolt.

I have found the Afrezza is very tolerant of room temperature storage. I carry a week’s supply in my brief case (subject to 95 degree Kern County temperatures) and it remains effective. Afrezza in the 30 dose foil container can be placed in a FRIO bag, but I have not found it necessary, When I was much younger, using only the insulins available in 1958-62, long before human insulins, I kept it at room temperature in my dorm room and never noticed a problem. If there’s an earthquake, just pack as best you can and you’ll probably too OK.

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Me: Bay Area resident since 1967, T1D since 1971.

I believe that it is best to carry earthquake supplies in your car … assuming you are like most Californians and drive everywhere. If you’re home, you are near your car, if you are at work, you are near your car, if you are halfway in between you are IN your car …

In addition to food and water, I have several infusion sets in my car. I have NEVER refrigerated either the bottle of insulin I am using or the one “on deck”. Only the second in line and beyond.

Although I don’t yet own one, I’ve been looking at the little thermoelectric in-car refrigerators. You will likely have a functional car battery much longer than PG&E will provide power. I think that the little TE coolers can maintain 30 degrees F below ambient which is plenty … as long as you don’t have the windows rolled up on a hot day.

And stash some cash somewhere … your credit card, Apple Pay, etc will likely be worthless … but a few twenties may get you a nice, cool vial of insulin. And try (I know it is difficult) not to run your tank down to E … getting 100-200 miles from the epicenter as quickly as possible solves a lot of problems … diabetic or not.

Good luck,


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@Kathlyn1 - Grew up here in SF Bay Area. We have Yeti Cooler (Tundra best, Roadie good in case you’ve got to carry & walk). Yeti keeps ice packs cold longer so good for backup. My hubby also considering buying us a small solar-powered fridge. Have emergency backpack with running shoes, bottle of water, bunch of Frios, protein bars, glucose ready to go. Also got Ready America emergency backpack on Amazon. I try to keep one frio with insulin in backpack, one in purse, one at work. That said, last time we had an emergency, I just ran out of the house and forgot all of it : )

Thank you for your info. I am preparing a emergency backpack now to keep in the car and was concerned about getting to and keeping the insulin cold during a evacuation. I was thinking of keeping my supply of vials in a Frio bag at all times in the fridge then during a castrophe grabbing that and keeping the Frio Bag cold by dousing it with water every few days. Thank you for the info on the solar fridge. I took a evacuation preparedness course and the first thing they said to buy was a burner phone. so I bought one with a solar charger and some of those silver lightweight blankets, Having lived in FL all my life it was always so easy to keep the house prepared for a hurricane because we still had time to evacuate if the storm became stronger. Earthquakes have no warning! I am not familiar with this website. How would I send a PM to you?

John, thank you for your very sensible info. on keeping top supplies in the car because it is ALWAYS close by. I am preparing an emergency backpack for the car now with a burner phone and solar charger (highly recommended by an earthquake preparedness course I took). I am new to Marin and have a great fear of an earthquake. I lived in FL all my life and it was so simple to keep the house and car prepared for a hurricane because we knew the season and could evacuate if the storm became too high a category, What do you know of the current seismology of the Bay are? You seem very informed. I would like to PM but do not know how on this website. Thank you.

I answered you in the wrong place because I am not familiar with this website or many others. My apology.