Insulin is critical, but much more is required to stay safe and healthy
When severe storms threaten, it’s important for everyone to have a proper plan and supplies in place to weather the storm, but an emergency kit is especially critical for people managing type 1 diabetes.
Power outages, disrupted travel and closed stores are all possibilities when severe weather strikes. Now especially is an important time to get prepared. Hurricane season is ongoing now until Nov. 30, and winter storms will soon follow. But damaging winds, flash floods, thunderstorms and more can strike any time of the year in any part of the country. These events can cause serious problems for people with type 1 diabetes who need insulin and the supplies necessary to administer it to live.
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Any diabetes-related emergency kit should be kept handy if disaster strikes. A type 1 diabetes emergency kit should be tailored to meet your specific needs; however, here’s a list of items to give you a guideline to start building your own. Be sure to keep the kit handy at all times to stay safe.
Type 1 diabetes emergency kit
Be sure to replenish supplies regularly so that all supplies are current. Consider storing at least two weeks worth of supplies and store everything in waterproof containers.
Type 1 diabetes supplies
- Extra glucose meter
- Extra insulin
- A good cold storage container with pre-made ice
- A reusable cooling pack to protect your insulin
- Blood test strips
- Ketone test strips (blood or urine)
- Alcohol wipes
- Insulin pump supplies
- CGM supplies, as well as non-diabetes medications such as anti-diarrhea medicine, anti-nausea medicine and pain medicine
- A spare battery for your blood test meter and insulin pump, if needed. For rechargeable devices, consider a mobile phone power pack.
- Emergency glucose to treat hypoglycemia. Unopened packages of glucose tablets are good for a very long time.
Information for first responders
According to the organization Children With Diabetes, you should keep a current explanation of your diabetes management regimen, including dosages at various meal times. For pump users, this should include basal rates, insulin-to-carb ratios, and correction factors. If you subscribe to a medical identification service, include a print out of all of your information. Store this information in a waterproof container.
Also be sure to keep a copy of your emergency contact information of and family members, including phone numbers (land and cell) and email addresses. It’s also a good idea to keep contact information for relatives who may live farther away.
Supplies for a type 1 diabetes emergency kit
In addition to any diabetes-specific supplies it’s smart to keep handy items that will keep you safe and warm. Here’s a list from Children With Diabetes to get you started.
- A general first aid kit with bandages, etc.
- Flashlights with many sets of extra batteries
- Candles and matches to light the candles, in case the power outage outlasts the flashlight batteries
- Plenty of bottled water. Depending on how hot it is where you are several gallons per day may be required to stay hydrated
- Non-perishable food, such as granola bars and canned goods. Foods that do not need to be heated are ideal. Store a can opener as well if needed.
- Disposable plates and utensils to eat the food, as well as napkins or paper towels to clean up
Copies of all prescriptions, not just for diabetes. And don’t forget glasses or contacts prescriptions.
- An extra cell phone charger or pre-charged battery pack
- Some cash, both bills and coins. Coins can be helpful in getting food from vending machines and paying road tolls if you need to evacuate.
- If you live in a cold climate, consider storing blankets or sleeping bags nearby. If you live in an area where hurricanes or flooding is a risk, consider keeping plastic ponchos or tarps nearby to help protect you from rain.