One of the most overlooked items for emergency preparedness in my opinion is medical supplies. I think most often, people grab an everyday first aid kit and then just check the box for their preparedness planning. But realistically, when was the last time you didn’t give your local CVS or Walgreens some of your monthly budget? You are going to need to have an emergency supply of your essential medications.
The National Center for Health Statistics released a brief in Sept. 2010 noting that “48% of Americans took at least one prescription medication in the last month.” The same is true for “1 out of 5 children and 9 out of 10 older Americans.” That is a lot of prescription meds. You need to take an inventory of any medications taken in your household, adults and children. Keep in mind that some medications can be stopped without any repercussions; however, many cannot. Your medication bottle should be labeled accordingly, but I recommend having a conversation with your physician. Let them know what you are doing as far as emergency preparedness planning. Ask for an extra prescription for those that cannot be stopped cold turkey. If having the same prescription filled twice in one month won’t fly with your insurance company, ask your physician for help. For instance, I have a prescription that I cannot discontinue without the supervision of a physician. I normally take 50 mg. My physician wrote me a prescription for double the quantity at 25 mg. for two months. This essentially gave me an 30 days worth of medicine. In addition, he was willing to outline a method for me to wean myself off of the medication over the course of those 30 days. I have the instructions and the medication in my emergency go-kit at home. I eventually built my refills into the equation so that my extra meds. never expire. Every month when I refill the prescription, I put the new one in the go-kit and take the bottle from the go-kit to the medicine cabinet.
This may not work for you however. Maybe you cannot ever stop taking your meds. If you are, for instance, on insulin for example. How much can you store at one time? How long will it last without refrigeration? Have you considered a small refrigerator with the help of a small generator? You can get solar-powered generators that are capable of running small refrigerators. They certainly come at a financial premium so price these ahead of time and plan/budget accordingly.
The main point is do not overlook your medications. There are work arounds for many scenarios if you are willing to do some checking with your physician and make the right types of plans. However, you first need to outline what medications are essential for you and your family.
In addition to planning to keep up with your meds, make sure you have also thought outside the typical first aid box. Have you ever taken a CPR or first aid course? You can get these from your local red cross, many local fire stations, and even sometimes at your place of employment. But please, keep in mind if your last CPR certification was 15 years ago…then you aren’t still certified. It’s a nice gesture to want to help someone, but if your skills are out of date, you could actually do more harm that good. Also consider purchasing quik clot kits, speciality wound care kits, burn care supplies, and a medical field guide.
I have a special preparedness presentation that I give for people with disabilities, so this post is not intended to cover those considerations. I will cover those concerns specifically at another time.