Disaster Planning with Allergies

Being prepared for natural disasters and emergencies is crucial for anyone reliant on special medications or foods. No matter where you live, it pays to be ready! Having been through our fair share of hurricanes, we can let you know what we’ve learned:

Pay attention to any announcements or instructions if there’s a threat or emergency in your area. If you have advance warning, evacuate early. It’s worth it to avoid traffic, gas lines and empty shelves in stores.

Always keep basic supplies and necessary medications on hand in good quantities. If possible, stay a month ahead of any prescriptions.

Establish a Family Emergency Plan
http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/EmergencyPlan_REV6_0.pdf

Put together an Emergency Supply Kit|
http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/checklist3.pdf

If you have pets, know ahead of time what you will do with them
http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/pets_brochure.pdf

If anyone has disabilities or special needs, review FEMA’s special instructions
http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/FEMA_Disabilities_R-6_web_june2012.pdf

Educate your children about what to do! Here’s a great coloring book from FEMA to help approach the subject in a friendly way:
http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/ReadyKids-ActivityBook.pdf

In addition to those excellent resources, I’d like to add the tips and tricks I picked up myself:

In a disaster zone, stores won’t be open, perhaps for weeks. Travel may be impossible due to an inability to get gasoline. So you might have to be on your own or reliant on agencies like FEMA, the Red Cross and charitable organizations for awhile. But their supplies are limited too.

Have at least 3 days worth of shelf-stable allergen-free food for allergic kids. I’d recommend having all of the family’s food allergen-free for a few reasons. If emergency services are unavailable, there’s no reason to risk cross-contamination or accidental ingestion. And if you find that there is food available, but it’s not suitable for the allergic person, the rest of the family will be able to use the available resources while extending the supply of allergen-free products.

Keep allergy and medical alert information on every member of the family indicating their needs. This can be critical when emergency services are strapped for resources and it’s possible for people to be separated.

Make plans to keep any medication dry and at the right temperature for the duration of the event. Even in a relatively small disaster, you can be without electricity for an extended time. For some, that may mean storing ice. In the winter, firewood can help.

Try to keep plenty of gasoline in your car at all times. You may have to drive some distance to seek shelter or to find an open station, so if you’re accustomed to letting your fuel tank get low before refilling, it’s a good idea to change that habit.

Have a black Sharpie pen in your emergency kit. In a worst-case scenario, write important information on each family member’s arm. Name, address, a contact number for someone in an unaffected area, and any medical problems like allergies can be written. If you are separated from your children, that information can be critical and writing it on them ensures that it won’t be lost. It’s a harrowing thought, but during Katrina we saw parents putting children aboard helicopters for evacuation while the adults remained behind. Those kids had to later be identified and reunited, and having that information on them can be a big help. And even if your children are old enough to tell rescuers, the confusion of an evacuation can leave anyone too overwhelmed to think and and communicate clearly.

Article from www.Allermates.com

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