An estimated 48% of Americans do NOT have an emergency kit for use during a disaster.

Is your family prepared?

Hurricanes, tornados, flash flooding, wildfires, mass power outages – they can happen anytime.  When the disaster hits it can be scary.  You are worried about your loved one’s safety, any damage to your personal belongings, will you have to rebuild?  You can feel overwhelmed and lost.  You really don’t have a whole lot of time to “think” as you are flooded with a ton of reactive emotions.

But you can take steps to be prepared if disaster strikes. Have you taken the time to really think about what items you would need during a disaster?  There are several essential items you need to keep your family safe and healthy during a disaster.  Here are some tips and items you need to make sure you have stashed in your emergency kit that are often forgotten.

1. Refrigerated Medications

Some medications, like certain insulins or other injectable products or liquids, are required to be stored at temperatures between 35F and 46F (or between 2C and 8C) in order to ensure the products don’t degrade.  This means you have to refrigerate them.  But how can you ensure they stay at these tempuratures when your electricity is out for several days?  Thankfully technology has advanced to help you out of this jam.  Having a portable mini refrigerator that connects to a portable power bank is an excellent way to keep refrigerated meds safe during a blackout.  They are relatively inexpensive and effective.

Be sure to purchase a thermometer to enure proper temperatures are maintained for the medicines.  If you aren’t sure if the medicine has been stored at the proper temperature, do not take the medicine and call your pharmacy or the drug maker immediately to obtain proper guidance on what to do.

2. Medications to Treat Injuries

It’s easy to stub your toe in the dark, or trip down the stairs when you have no power. Minor injuries can happen.  The last thing you want to do is have to ride out a flood with a throbbing, swollen knee and no way to treat it. Aside from it being a smart idea to have a kit that can treat minor injuries during a disaster, it’s just a smart practice to have in general. There are lots of First Aid kits out there – some are the “mac daddy” all inclusive kits, others have plenty of items at a more affordable price.  Take this 299 piece kit for example.  Two of these may be needed for a family of 4.

3. GI Medications

There’s nothing worse than being stranded in your home, without AC and electricity – and have the bubble guts. Any upset tummy is the worst. Keeping antidiarrheal medicines, constipation remedies, and rehydration sources are important for successful disaster preparedness.  Stool softeners such as docusate sodium are items you don’t want to overlook when creating your disasster kit.  My favorite “tummy troubles catch-all” remedy is good old Pepto.  It helps with indigestion, nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and general stomach disconfort.  This is also a staple when planning travel.

4. Medication Administration Supplies

For those of you who may have complex medications that require special administration supplies, like syringes, butterfly needles, tubing — you want to make sure you keep an emergency stash.  You can find these items at a large retailer or a durable medical supplies company.  Many times, these items are also covered under Flex Spending Accounts or Health Savings Account funds.  Online retailers may offer lower pricing and can accept FSA or HSA cards for eligible items such as insulin needles or syringes and diabetes testing supplies.

5. Eye Wash and Ophthalmic Medications

Eye drops and eye washes are the item no one ever seems to remember to include in their disaster kit.  You need your eyes to stay debris-free.  Speaking from first hand experience, it can be a terrible feeling to have something stuck in your eye and no clean, fresh, sterile water to help get it out.  An eye wash kit is inexpensive but often forgotten.  

So check yourself – does your emergencyy kit include these items? What items do you have that aren’t included in our list?  Share this post with your family and friends to help make sure their medicine cabinets are disaster ready. 

Thanks for stopping by the Healthy Hive. Until next time!