Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

News & Publications

Emergency Plan for People with Diabetes

Feb 18, 2011

I am self-admittedly a “Weather Channel junkie.” I love to watch the forecast. I know most of the meteorologists by name...and I think weather is exciting! But, sometimes it is too exciting.

This winter has been especially tough for many people across the United States. There have been blizzards in the Midwest to the Northeast, severe thunderstorms in the Southeast, and ice and sleet that caused power outages for many days. On January 11, 2011, it was reported that there was snow in 49 of the 50 United States (Florida missed out). There have been frigid temperatures and torrential rains in the Northwest; record snows in the Northeast and mudslides in California. During other times of the year there is the threat of hurricanes and tornados.

These situations can present emergency situations. People being forced from their homes and power outages can create problems for everyone; especially for those with diabetes. After Hurricane Katrina hit, we saw an extreme situation. People were stranded with no more than the clothes on their backs. Some diabetes educators were involved in the rescue efforts.

What should people with diabetes have available in case of emergency? And, what can we do to help minimize problems?

With your help, we can create an Emergency Plan for those with Diabetes. I will get started and ask for you to add in. With this information, we can create a resource for patients. Think about what someone with diabetes would need for 1 week if they were without power or needed to rush from their home. What should be kept in an airtight zipper-locked storage bag, in a small cooler, that could be taken in a hurry or used for the week?

Here is my start:

  • Rubbing alcohol pads, bottled water, hand sanitizer, cans of regular soda, sugar packets and/or glucose tabs
  • A list of current medications including when each is taken and the amounts
  • Meter, an extra set of batteries, a 1 week supply of strips, lancing device, lancets
  • A 1 week supply of oral medications
  • A 1 week supply of syringes, insulin, a small cooler and ice packs
  • An insulin pump, infusion sets, an insertion device, extra batteries

What else? Think about your specialty area. What is important for 1 week of good diabetes care in an emergency situation?


Leave a comment
  1. Feb 28, 2011

    After living through several hurricanes it is possible to be without water or food for several days. Keep at least a weeks supply of bottled water when hurricane season starts. Some ideas for food items include: dry milk, juice boxes, jello or fruit packs. This is the time for canned foods like low sodium vegetables or soups that could be eaten at room temperature. Water can become an important problem so getting a waterproof plastic container to store everything in is a great idea. If you have important papers at home you need to put them in a waterproof container and make a copy to keep in a safety deposit box in the bank. Flashlights, batteries, rain pancho, toilet prepared and be safe.
  2. Feb 26, 2011

    Great additions, Jacquelyn. Thanks!
  3. Feb 22, 2011

    Hi Karen, When I ran a support group many years ago we used to put together an emergency kit or sick-day kit. I would also include especially when traveling all the important phone numbers and short medical history (typed an put in a baggie), basal rates, I:C Ratios, Correction factor, at least two complete changes if on a pump, 1or 2 vials of insulin or pens, glucagon kit and a thermometer (the throw away kind), tylenol, aspirin(if over 2 yrs old)or ibuprofen and if allergic, allergy tablets (benadryl) Also, I would include 24 hrs worth of non-perishable food,(you should try to match the carbohydrataes in your diet) some diet pop and jello just in case they get sick or have hyperglycemia and here is my favorite - a good book and your favorite pillow or lap-blanket and maybe some lifesavers!

    Leave a comment

    In This Section

    News & Publications