Surviving the Hurricane: Scott Estrin’s Experience

How do you handle preparing for a weather emergency? Read how blogger Scott Estrin managed his diabetes care while his home was without power for 10 days during Hurricane Sandy in our latest Discuss Diabetes post. Best, Laura K.

We're getting a generator and I'm buying a solar fridge as well. That is the only way to be completely safe for these types of disasters if you have any meds etc. that need to be kept at specific temperatures or medical devices that are life saving and other medical power needs. I was able to store my extra insulin in a neighbor's fridge who had a generator fortunately. But there were many other issues for me with 7 days without power during Sandy, such as worrying about getting sick from the cold at night. I would be interested to know what cooling pack Scott purchased to cool insulin for several days.

Thanks Laura for giving me the opportunity to tell my story!

Meee, you've asked a good question. I bought a Frio pack (search for it on Amazon, or just Google it) primarily to preserve insulin during hot summer outings, but also in case of emergencies. I just received it a couple of weeks ago. It looks like a small pouch (they come in various sizes and colors) that can snugly hold one or more insulin vials (without the box) or pens. The inside of the pouch contains crystals which turn into a cool gel when wet. Not cold, but cool enough to save your life-saving insulin during hot days.

The nice thing about it is that it activates with water, so soaking it in a sink, glass, or bowl - or in a pinch, I assume a lake - does the job quite wel; no electricity required. So far, I've used it for trips to amusment parks and to the beach -- it's very important to me to help support and "Restore the Shore" after the storm ripped through -- and it's worked quite well. If it dries out, usually after a couple of days, just add more water. The one thing to recognize is that it needs air-flow to work; they say it works on evaporation; so storing the Frio in an airtight cooler or Ziploc bag may lead to disappointing results. A pocket is fine. (I should probably point out that I have no relationship whatsoever with Frio, other than buying their product, and this editorial is entirely my own).

It did get quite cold after Sandy, so in this particular case I think my insulin fared just fine, but it's good to be prepared for next time.