With a scorching summer of wildfires not yet over in the United States, another hurricane season is bearing down on millions. In some parts of the country, earthquakes are a year-round threat. Disasters remind us that catastrophic events can strike without warning. Being prepared for disasters ahead of time can not only help you and your family survive in the short-term, but recover in the long-term. Here are the top 7 reasons to prepare for disasters.
1. No one else will do it for you
You’re the only person who can prepare for emergency situations that may leave you without your most basic essentials or separate you from your loved ones. It’s up to you to know the risks in the area where you live, and to plan ahead for the unexpected. Visit the American Red Cross and Healthcare Ready for resources to help you prepare for every type of emergency.
2. Some things are irreplaceable
Make a digital copy of your medical records and your will and consider scanning photos that are important to you. Store them all on a flash drive in your emergency kit, in the cloud or with a relative in another location. These steps will help you save your personal information and some memories in case you are separated from your physician or lose your possessions.
3. You may lose access to utilities
Make a copy of important phone numbers and understand that you may not be able to charge your phone. You might also consider making a written list of websites you may need to access, your user names and clues to remind you of your passwords. Keep this in your emergency kit.
4. It may take time to get prescription refills
If you take prescription medicines, being without them for just a few hours or days could affect your health. It may take time to fill prescriptions, especially if you have to flee your home. Make sure you have a week’s worth of prescription medicines on hand in your emergency kit to take with you if you need to leave your home quickly. In order to ensure they are not expired when and if you need them, refresh them periodically. Be sure to dispose of any expired medicines properly. Check Rx Open for help finding nearby open pharmacies in areas impacted by disaster.
Remember that PPA offers a disaster worksheet for patients whose prescription needs have been adversely affected by a disaster to send in with their Patient Assistance Program applications.
5. You may become separated from your loved ones
It’s important to plan for how to contact with your loved ones if you become separated. The American Red Cross recommends everyone choose two emergency meeting places – one near your home, in case of a localized emergency, and one outside of town in case you are asked to leave your neighborhood..
6. Floods and wildfires are becoming more prevalent
Areas that have not flooded in the past may be subject to flash floods, and areas that have never experienced wildfires may experience unexpected fires. Study the risks that may affect you in your area, even if those risks are considered “low.”
7. There won’t be time when the emergency strikes
There won’t be time to put together an emergency kit at the time an emergency strikes. That’s why it’s important to gather things you might need: a flashlight, any medications, a first aid kit, etc. and be ready for the moment you might need to quickly evacuate your home.
If you or someone you love struggles with affordable access to medicines, there are resources available that may be able to help: The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps connect patients with patient assistance programs that provide free or nearly free prescription medicines. For more information, visit www.pparx.org.