From wildfires, floods, and tornadoes, to hurricanes, disease outbreaks, and tsunamis, natural and other disasters will always be part of life on earth. Unfortunately, even with their absolute best efforts, scientists can’t always predict the exact time a disaster will strike. Because of the global pandemic and other recent natural disasters, Americans are more aware of emergencies than ever before. Yet less than 20% of people living in the U.S. describe themselves as totally prepared, and just 42% have created a personal emergency kit.
What is an emergency preparedness plan?
An emergency preparedness plan (EPP) refers to the steps you take to make sure you and your family are safe before, during, and after an emergency, natural disaster, or technological diasters or other catastrophe.
What is the purpose of an emergency preparedness plan?
The goal of any emergency preparedness plan is to save your life if you are in a disaster or other emergency situation. Being prepared in the event of a diaster can help prevent injuries and fatalities.
How do I create an emergency preparedness plan?
Creating an emergency preparedness plan doesn’t have to be complicated. In addition to building a basic emergency kit, an EPP is even more critical for people living with chronic medical conditions. For example, in addition to essentials such as food and water, a first aid kit, whistle, radio, and a flashlight, people living with diabetes need to pack enough diabetes supplies to last several weeks, such as:
- Insulin pump supplies
- Blood sugar meter
- Extra batteries for meter
- Gluclose tablets or 15 grams of quick to carbs (juice, candy etc).
The best way to think about your EPP is to determine what you need to live and successfully manage your condition for an extended amount of time – items that extend beyond the basic first aid items.
What are the essential items for an emergency preparedness plan?
In addition to an ample supply of food and water, FEMA lists the following essential items (and others) to include in your basic emergency kit:
- Battery-powered or hand cranked radio to receive updates on the disaster and any known safety risks.
- Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children to help them cope with the stress.
- Dust mask to help protect you against contaminated air.
- First aid kit to provide immediate care to an injured family member.
- Flashlight and extra batteries to help you get around at night.
- Local maps in case of evacuation, you may need a paper map to find your way to safety.
- Manual can opener to open canned food in your emergency kit.
- Supplies for your pet and a favorite toy to comfort them.
- Whistle to help signal for help if you are stranded and need search and rescue to hear you.
- Wrench or pliers, which can come in handy if you need to turn off utilities.
- Contact information, of family or loved ones that will need to be notified in an emergency.
- Complete medical history, that is easily attainable and contains a list of your conditions, medications, implanted devices, surgeries, doctor contact information etc.
FEMA states that while it is important to have these supplies at home, you should also consider having a smaller emergency kit stored in your car or ready to grab if you are evacuated from your home and need to leave quickly. Once you have your kit built, be sure to maintain it by replacing expired items. It is important to reevaluate your needs each year and adjust your kit and emergency preparedness plan accordingly.
How can MedicAlert be an essential part of my emergency preparedness plan?
A MedicAlert ID and protection plan should be an essential part of every emergency preparedness plan. In addition to wearables such as bracelets, necklaces, and shoe tags, our Smart IDs and ICE (In Case of Emergency) tags utilize QR code technology for quick access to your digital health record—anytime, anywhere.
Our Medical IDs and protection plan make it easy for first responders and rescue teams to quickly identify who you are, what conditions you have, what medications you are taking, and any other information important to your care. Our Smart IDs and ICE tags can easily be attached to emergency kits, mobility aids, cell phones, helmets, or any hard surface for quick access and easy scanning.
Having this vital, detailed information on hand can help first responders quickly identify the safest and most effective ways to treat and help you. Simply put, having a MedicAlert ID and protection plan as part of a total emergency preparedness plan can help save your life.
How do you become a MedicAlert member?
No one anticipates an emergency. But if it happens and you are unable to communicate, MedicAlert will communicate your critical health information for you to first responders, so you’ll receive the care you need, at the moment you need it. We offer protection plans at every level including Basic, Advantage, and Advantage Plus. All protection levels provide:
- 24/7 emergency response team to relay your vital health information to first responders, ensuring fast and accurate care.
- Digital health profile including your critical health information—all in one place.
- Patient instructions including any additional information important to your care.
To become a MedicAlert member, visit our protection plan page and select the plan that’s right for you.
What should you engrave on a MedicAlert ID?
All MedicAlert medical IDs feature free custom engraving or a QR code encrypted with your vital medical information. Engraving should include any critical medical information that can help protect and save your life if you are in a natural disaster, catastrophe, or other emergency. As part of your emergency preparedness plan, you should engrave several key pieces of information on your MedicAlert ID. Examples include:
- Name and address.
- Assistive and other medical devices.
- Designated physician and emergency contact information.