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Are You Prepared? Disaster Response Toolkit

How to prepare for the unexpected

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards…recent years have been pretty rough in terms of emergency situations across the U.S. While viewing news coverage of these events, I actually heard a couple of interviews with people who found themselves without their diabetes supplies. It got me thinking about the extra effort that might be required of a person living with diabetes to be prepared for an emergency. What would you take with you if you were forced out of your home in the middle of the night? Would you have enough supplies if you were stranded at work or in an unfamiliar place for days? How do you prepare for the unexpected?

I don’t need to tell you all of the significance of an emergency plan. I did, however, want to educate myself. So I did some digging and found some great resources for diabetes care during a natural disaster or emergency. I’ve included links and some of the top tips below. I hope these are helpful to you and your family.

Below are some steps from the American Diabetes Association to take when preparing for an emergency:

  • Have a Plan: List the steps you will take in emergency situations, including a safe place you can go in case of an evacuation and someone you can contact.
  • Review your plan several times with your family and practice it often.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a great checklist of steps to include in your emergency plan here.

  • Pick a Place: You should keep your emergency toolkit in a familiar place and it should always be easily accessible. You should always abide by the buddy system and make sure to let someone else know where your emergency toolkit is located.
  • Make a list:
    • Emergency contacts
    • You and your loved one’s medication information
    • Doctor’s phone numbers/contact information
    • Numbers for your insurance company and copies of your insurance cards

Your Diabetes Emergency Toolkit: Your diabetes emergency toolkit will be different depending on how you care for your diabetes, however you should always include at least three days worth of diabetes supplies in your kit. Here are a few items you should consider including:

  • An insulin cooling case and storage container for your emergency supplies
  • Extra test strips, keytone strips, alcohol wipes, and insulin pump supplies
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Copies of your prescriptions for all your medications
  • Extra batteries for your pump or flashlight
  • Bottled water

If you, or your family or loved ones need assistance or support in times of severe weather, the American Diabetes Association may be able to help. Check the Facebook pages of local chapters for updates.

For more information on how to best prepare for an emergency, visit the American Diabetes Association’s website and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. You can also share your personal tips here. What essentials do you pack in your emergency toolkit? Sound off in the comments below!

Best, Laura

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  1. Laura
    May 9th, 2011, 3:33 PM

    Thanks for your comment, Scott. What initially drove me to blog on this topic was the overwhelming sense of grief that came over me when taking in news coverage of people with diabetes left without their supplies during a natural disaster or otherwise uncontrollable event.

    As such, I wanted to do my part to increase awareness of this topic with the hopes of minimizing future situations like these. If this entry motivates just one person to create a preparedness plan & toolkit, it was worth the time it took to research it.

    Thanks again for commenting! All the best, laura

  2. @ArdensDay
    May 9th, 2011, 12:17 PM


    Are you planning on telling the more personal side of what caused you to write about this topic in a future blog? I hope that you do!