In the event of a power outage, be prepared by keeping the following items in an easy-to-find emergency supply kit:
Water: Three-day supply, one gallon per person per day.
Tools: Flashlight, extra batteries, manual can opener, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
First aid kit and prescriptions: First aid supplies, hand sanitizer and at least one week’s supply of prescriptions and medications for the family.
Many of us have emergency kits prepared in the event of a power outage. While we typically think of items such as water, nonperishable food and flashlights, those utilizing home medical devices requiring electricity have additional concerns to consider during an outage.
It’s important to prepare medical equipment (just as you would an emergency kit) before a storm occurs. First, check with your device manufacturer or consult the manual to determine if your device can be used with batteries or a generator. If the device can run on batteries, have plenty of extras ready before a potential weather event. Since outage lengths vary, it’s recommended to keep a week’s supply on hand.
Additionally, if your device requires water for use or cleaning, only use bottled, boiled or treated water until you are sure your local water supply is safe.
With your device, keep cards handy that have the following information.
Contact card that lists:
- Your name
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- The name and number of your doctor
- Updated emergency contacts
Device card that lists:
- The device type and model number
- Your local power company and phone number
- Your local fire department and phone number
- Ambulance service and phone number
- Your home care agency and phone number
- Your health care provider and phone number
- Device supplier and phone number
And don’t forget about any medications that need to be kept cold. During an outage, refrigerators will typically maintain a cool temperature for up to four hours, and medications can remain in a closed refrigerator during that time. If the outage lasts longer than four hours, remove the medications as soon as possible and place them in a cooler packed with ice or ice packs. To ensure the medications are safe for use, monitor the temperature of the cooler with a thermometer and keep medications out of direct contact with the ice to avoid freezing.
Once power is restored, check the settings on your device to make sure they have not changed, as they may return to default settings after a power outage.
In addition to these measures, it’s also important to include alternative living arrangements in your plan. In case of an extended outage, having one or more locations you could temporarily go to can also provide relief.
Power outages can be stressful, especially if you use medical equipment, but by planning now, you can achieve peace of mind if they do occur.