So, what to do? Have a land line telephone that does not rely on electricity for power (one that plugs directly into the phone jack and not into a power outlet). Keep your cell phone charged at all times. If you can’t call, texting may work. You may have better luck with e-mail, so also keep your laptop charged. If you are lucky enough to reach (or to be reached) by someone outside the geographic area affected by the disaster, ask that person to spread whatever word you need spread, since you may not be able to call out again for some time.
Since it is likely you will have no means of outside communication for hours or days after a disaster, decide on a meeting place with your loved ones ahead of time. Also agree on a second meeting place in case your first choice is not reachable. If you leave your home following an emergency, leave a note on the door saying where you’ve gone and how to reach you. (Click here to find out about getting out in a hurry.)
Pack a radio in your emergency kit — one powered by solar, hand crank, or batteries, and be sure to pack some extra batteries along with it.
Sanitation and hygiene
The last thing you want to do during or after an emergency is to get sick or to spread a sickness through your household. The best way to avoid that is to keep your hands as clean as possible. If you have running water, wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If you don’t have water, use a waterless hand gel or moist towelettes. Keep a stock of these in your emergency kit.
Remember to include personal hygiene items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, comb, brush, contact lens supplies, and feminine supplies in your emergency kit. Travel-size containers are good for stowing in your “go bag.”
Also keep a bucket, a portable toilet seat (available from emergency preparedness retailers), toilet paper, and a box of large trash bags in your home kit.
Maintain basic first-aid kits for your home, car, and workplace for treating minor injuries. Your first-aid kits should include the following items:
- Adhesive bandages of various sizes
- A 50 x 90 sterile dressing
- Gauze roller bandages
- 30 x 30 or 40 x 40 sterile gauze pads
- Elastic bandages
- Antibacterial hand wipes
- Antiseptic wipes (for wound or skin cleaning)
- Several pairs of nonlatex gloves
- Adhesive tape
- Antibacterial ointment
- Cold packs
- CPR breathing barrier
Include small amounts of any over-the-counter medicines you might want, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, an antihistamine, and throat lozenges. Look through your kits each year to replace expired or soon-to-expire items.
It is vital that you have an adequate amount of diabetes medicines and supplies throughout an emergency. Have at least a three-day supply in each of your emergency kits, and never run lower than a one-week supply at home. If a medicine needs to be kept cool, however, do not store it in your emergency kit; keep it in the refrigerator (both at home and at work).
Your list of diabetes medicines and supplies will likely include all or some of the following: