Street sign underwater with flooding

Preparing for Disaster: How to Create a Diabetes Emergency Kit

Here in Southeast Michigan, we had some pretty bad storms on Sunday night. And apparently it caused quite a bit of damage to the power lines. I have personally been out of power for about 24 hours now. This situation got me thinking. Do you know how to prepare for an unexpected disaster? How many people have actually thought about creating a diabetes emergency kit?

Disaster preparedness is extremely important for someone with diabetes. Depending on where you live, you may run into more severe situations like hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, or snowstorms. And there are several things that you may want to be proactive about when it comes to preparing for disasters. Read on to learn how to create a diabetes emergency kit so you are not caught off guard when disaster strikes.

Why Create a Diabetes Emergency Kit?

People with diabetes have unique needs that can be especially difficult to manage during storms or other situations that limit your access to resources. No one really expects to be suddenly cut off from necessities like electricity, refrigeration, or fresh food and the ability to cook it. But wouldn’t you rather be prepared than surprised? Keeping a diabetes emergency kit on hand can:

  • Give you peace of mind, knowing that you are prepared for any situation.
  • Allow you to evacuate from your home quickly, if needed, without worrying if you have the supplies you need.
  • Give you extra time to figure out your next steps when disaster strikes.
  • Help others help you efficiently in an emergency situation.

What to Include in Your Kit

A diabetes emergency kit should include basic categories of resources: Important information and diabetes supplies. So, grab a waterproof bag or tote that is easy to transport, and let’s get started on creating our kit.

Important information (keep a copy of the following in your kit):

  • Type of diabetes you have
  • Any other health history: medical conditions, allergies, past surgeries
  • Current medications, doses, and the time you take them (you can make copies of this handout for an easy way to keep track)
  • A list of your healthcare providers and contact information (you can use this form)
  • If you have an insulin pump or CGM, include a copy of the make, model, and serial number, and the manufacturer’s phone number in case you need to replace your device
  • Important contact numbers (family, friends, work, etc.)
  • A copy of your photo ID, health insurance, and prescription cards

Diabetes Supplies:

  • At least a week’s supply of all medications, including insulin if applicable
  • Glucometer and extra strip and lancets. Don’t forget extra batteries!
  • If you have an insulin pump or CGM, include extra tubing, sensors, or other supplies
  • A cooler with reusable cold packs
  • A sharps disposal container (an empty plastic bottle will work)
  • Non-perishable items to treat a low blood sugar (ie. honey packets, hard candies, glucose tablets)

Other Supplies:

  • A 2-day supply of non-perishable food (ie. tuna packs, beans, nuts, protein bars)
  • A 3-day supply of bottled water
  • Pen and notepad for keeping track of your blood sugars
  • Extra charger for phone and any other necessary devices
  • An extra set of clothing
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First aid supplies (Band-Aids, alcohol swabs, etc.)

For more information on disaster preparedness, and to get a downloadable checklist to help you prepare your diabetes emergency kit, check out the Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition.

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