How Prepared Are You? Disaster Preparedness for People with Allergies
National Preparedness Month started after September 11 and is organized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is recognized this month to inform and remind everyone that it is crucial to prepare ourselves when disaster strikes.
Disaster preparedness is especially important for individuals with medical conditions such as life-threatening food allergies or sensitivities. It is time for your family to start the conversation about preparing for emergency situations, building an emergency kit, and practicing your evacuation route.
Aside from natural disasters, what kinds of emergencies should you prepare for? Emergencies can include any serious unexpected, and often dangerous situation. It can also mean different things to people. For instance, one family may be prepared for an emergency while another family isn’t, such as having supplies available for a child or a family member with a severe allergy. Emergency situations to consider include:
- Chemical accidents, poisoning
- Illness outbreak
- Severe Allergic reactions
- Severe storms, tornado, flooding, winter storms
- Accidents, injuries, pool/water safety
- Intruders at home, terrorism, etc.
When you are making your emergency plan, remember these:
- Clearly mark emergency supplies, and keep them somewhere accessible to anyone who may need them
- List important phone numbers clearly and make sure everyone knows a common meeting place or shelter area
- Discuss at least two routes to evacuate every room
- If possible discuss responsibilities with each family member
- Finish preparing for an emergency by practicing a situation with all family members.
For people with allergies, here are the following tips:
- Have enough food for every member of the family for 72 hours at a minimum to include infants
- Those with life-threatening medical conditions, medication allergies, food allergies, or other sensitivities, are encouraged to have medical IDs such as a bracelet or necklace
- If evacuating or going to a shelter, bring emergency food for those with special dietary needs or food allergies
- Take any needed prescribed medications with you if you must evacuate including items such as EpiPen, along with a list of all currently prescribed medications
- When arriving at a shelter, alert the OIC or shelter manager of any special dietary needs or allergies
- Pack appropriate clothing for both cold and hot weather conditions
Pre-planning can help you and your family be better prepared when a disaster strikes. Remember, preparedness is a shared responsibility.