It’s hurricane season: Those with special medical needs must be prepared

We’re a month into the 2016 hurricane season. Are you prepared? While we all should have emergency kits and evacuation plans, that’s doubly true for those of us who depend on a regular regimen of medication, medical equipment or special diets.

If you have special medical needs and haven’t developed an evacuation plan in case the need arises, today is the day to do so.

Don’t wait until a storm is bearing down. Waiting until the last moment could lead to mistakes, such as critical medicine, medical equipment or other essentials being left behind in a rush. You can avoid that by planning ahead so that you’re ready to move out of harm’s way at a moment’s notice.

Think it all through — from what you would need to take with you to where you would go. Be sure to maintain a list of items you need during emergencies, including medications, medical supplies and other items.

Here are two lists to get you started:pills
What will you take?

  • Ample medication and medical supplies for at least seven days
  • Medical equipment used at home, such as oxygen concentrators, wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc.
  • Special dietary foods and items
  • Health insurance cards
  • Names and phone numbers for health care providers, pharmacies and medical equipment companies (such as your oxygen provider)
  • Name of the utility service that provides power at you home

Where will you go?

Shelters should be the place of last resort. In the event that it is necessary, special medical needs shelters will be made available during storms.

  • Before opting to go to a shelter, try staying with family or friends or in a motel out of the area.
  • Shelters should be used only when no other options are available.
  • If a special medical needs shelter is necessary and available, organize an adult caregiver who can go with you and care for you.
  • Be sure to make arrangements for your pets; many shelters do not allow pets.
  • Tell family members where you will be during the storm.
  • Be sure any home health services you receive can be continued in the shelter.

Visit www.scdhec.gov/Hurricanes/  for additional information on preparing for and recovering from a storm.

Click below to download a comprehensive guide to hurricanes or visit www.scemd.org.

Hurricane Guide 2016

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