October 2013 > Emergency Preparedness

Be a Wise Healthcare Consumer

Emergency Preparedness: Make a Plan

Emergencies can come up any time, whether it’s something fairly minor or a more major event like a fast-moving wildfire or a hurricane or tropical storm, which can affect your area even if you live some distance inland. The drought conditions affecting most of the state of Texas makes wildfires an important ongoing concern. And there are still two months left in this year’s hurricane season.

Your family may or may not be together when a major emergency happens, so it’s important to plan ahead for things like how you will get to a safe place and get in contact with each other. The Federal Emergency Management Administration offers resources to help you set up a complete emergency plan for your family at www.ready.gov.

There are several other reputable websites offering planning tips and information as well, including sites developed by the Texas Department of State Health Services (bit.ly/16IetRT), the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (www.72hours.org), and the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org/prepare).

Regardless of whether you follow a specific recommendation or just make a plan on your own, there are a lot of factors to consider, including the safety of your children and dealing with health issues, especially those that require the use of assistive devices or ongoing medication. Keep these tips in mind as you think about making an emergency plan for your family.

Children

If you have children in school or day care, you should find out how those facilities will communicate with families in the event of an emergency. You should also take the time to learn about what preparations are in place to ensure the safety of children and staff during an emergency. Also, be sure that your child knows what to do in an emergency, as appropriate for their age and maturity level. You can find tips and information about this subject at www.ready.gov/kids.

Health Issues

If you or any of your family members have ongoing health issues, there are some additional important considerations for you to think about, including how you will handle specific individual needs such as durable medical equipment and other assistive devices. With natural disasters like major fires and storms, power outages are fairly common. Your planning should include preparations for how to keep any medical assistive devices that require electricity functioning for at least a few days if possible. Also consider that family members with limited mobility may need extra assistance to stay safe and maintain their health during emergencies.

Medications

The UT SELECT Prescription plan allows for prescriptions to be refilled in advance of the time it would take to use the entire previous supply (whether 30 or 90 days). If anyone in your family takes critical medication(s) on a daily basis, don’t wait until you are out of medication to get your refill. You should always keep at least a few days supply available. This will ensure that you to have those medications on hand in the event of a major emergency that prevents you from getting to a pharmacy right away.