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At the end of October this year, we experienced a little power outage reminder that winter – or as I call it, Storm Season – is nearly upon us. Are you prepared? Our power outage only lasted for two hours, but I’m considering it a wake-up call to get our supplies and plans in order!
The following are items you need to have. You need to know where they are, and they need to be in working order:
- Flashlights/headlamps with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable food (and manual can-opener, if needed)
- Bottled water
- Warm clothing/bedding
- Battery-operated nightlights
- LED (flameless) candles/lanterns
Since I’m a nurse, I tend to focus on those who have special medical needs. These are some needs that are vital to pre-plan for:
- If you use insulin or other medication that requires refrigeration, how are you going to keep them at the right temperature? Perhaps a cooler with ice packs and a thermometer? Be sure to protect your medication from direct exposure to the ice.
- If you use oxygen, do you have portable tanks and do you know how to use them? Do you know how to reach your oxygen provider if you run low on your supplies during an emergency?
- If you use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, do you have a battery-operated alternative?
- If you use an electric mobility device, it’s a good idea to have a manual option available, such as a transport wheelchair.
- If your health is fragile, do you have a plan for getting help during a power outage? Do you have an outside resource that can transport you to their home or hotel that has power, or to essential medical appointments such as dialysis? If you aren’t able to tolerate conditions without power or light, and if you haven’t made prior arrangements, you may need to go to a hospital for care.
- If you have in-home caregivers, do you have a contingency plan in case they’re not able to come to your home? Back-up caregiving resources are important. Do your caregivers know where your emergency supplies, like flashlights, are kept? Talk with your caregiving agency about emergency support and have a posted list of where your supplies are located.
I’ve got emergency supplies ready in my office, at home, and in my vehicle. You’ll have a much less stressful experience during power outages if you preplan for your needs.
Marla LeFevre, RN
Director of Health Services