If an emergency or disaster strikes, will you be prepared?

B Y MARY GREEN

Every emergency situation or natural disaster has the potential to impact not only a person’s safety and security, but also one’s health. This is particularly true for those that are medically vulnerable such as people with diabetes, who face additional challenges during emergencies ranging from safeguarding perishable medications to ensuring that adequate supplies are readily accessible.

As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) and Lilly Diabetes are extending their efforts to protect those potentially in harm’s way with distribution of the My Diabetes Emergency Plan.

Created in the aftermath of Katrina – one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history – when thousands of patients with diabetes were displaced with no access to their medications and necessary supplies, the My Diabetes Emergency Plan is a free, easy-to-follow checklist containing all the items needed for, and instructions on how to prepare, a disaster kit in advance of a crisis situation.

Among the recommended kit items are a 30-day supply of medications, blood glucose testing items, the person’s most-recent laboratory results, needles and lancets, empty plastic bottles for syringe disposal and more.

ACE has been distributing the plans (available in both English and Spanish) since 2006 to physician offices, allied healthcare professionals, and county and state health and emergency preparedness personnel to share with their clients. The plan is also available online for patients to download directly at www.mydiabetesemergencyplan.com. The website also features a how-to video with instructions on assembling all of the supplies needed for an emergency situation

Although you can’t predict when an emergency situation will arise, you can prepare for the aftermath by investing the time and effort in advance preparing your kit.