Dealing With Emergencies: A Practical Plan For People With Diabetes To Prepare For the Unexpected

Record-shattering heat waves. Out-of-control wildfires. Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding reaching from Florida to Alabama to Minnesota and beyond.

If it feels like unmitigated disaster is all around, it’s no wonder. Lately, the fallout from destructive forces is dominating the national news.

While it’s prudent for everyone to have a game plan for what to do in the event of emergency situations such as those sweeping the nation of late, in the case of people with diabetes, it can be critical. Thus, the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) and Lilly Diabetes have partnered to implement the EmPower Diabetes Emergency Plan program.

A revision of a patient education initiative launched in 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the updated program extends beyond natural disasters to encourage those with diabetes to be prepared for any type of unexpected situation.

At the core of the program is a checklist of 17 essential items those with diabetes would need in the event of an emergency, with all information contained in a tear-proof and waterproof mini-brochure which folds conveniently into credit card size for quick access. The reference tool is available in both English and Spanish and is published here as reference. Patients of AACE member endocrinologists are encouraged to request one of the cards from their physician.

In addition to the printed checklist, the Diabetes Emergency Plan program features an informative four minute video providing step-by-step instructions on how to prepare an emergency kit.

Both the video and the checklist can be viewed at ACE’s patient education and awareness website. To access the information, visit http://www.empoweryourhealth.org/ diabetes-emergency-plan.

“The health of a person with diabetes depends on discipline, balance and good decision making—things that tend to suffer when stressed by an emergency,” said AACE member Dr. Lawrence Blonde, MD, FACP, FACE. “We hope the resources we’ve created, when implemented, will help people rest easier knowing that if they need to act, their emergency kit with the necessary supplies to maintain their health is ready. That way, they can focus on managing, or in some instances, surviving, the situation at hand…especially when seconds count.”