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Make a Plan — Emergency Preparedness

It is important to think ahead about where your family will go and how to communicate during an emergency. You can use the template linked below to get started on your family communication plan. The idea is to have a conversation and start thinking about what you would need to do during an emergency.

Establish two meeting places.

  • One right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency.
  • One outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.

If you live in a flood hazard area…

  • Know where and when to evacuate.
  • Practice your evacuation route.

Know how to stay in touch with family.

  • Write down contact information for local family including personal and work/school addresses and telephone numbers.
  • Establish an out-of-area contact for each family member to contact to communicate their well-being.

Don’t forget to plan for pets.

  • If you have a pet, consider their needs when making your kit.
  • Be ready to evacuate with your pet – have a pet carrier ready.
  • Plan with neighbors, family or friends to evacuate your pets if you are unable to get home.

Expect telephone communication to be difficult; texting may be an option if cell phone calls will not work.

Elders have special needs in emergency situations.

  • Consider medicines or medical supplies that are used regularly.
  • Talk to hospitals, medical clinics, and other service providers about emergency plans. If electricity is necessary to operate medical equipment, ask providers what to do during power outages.
  • Enlist family and friends as a support network, share emergency plans, and make sure another family member or friend has a key to the home.

Remember to plan for recovery.

  • If you have evacuated, do not return home until the area has been cleared by local authorities.
  • Write down home or renter’s insurance information in your plan.
  • Stay in contact with family members, especially those with special needs.
  • Designate a family contact outside of the area who can serve as a point of contact during an emergency and for reunification.
  • Cultural and spiritual practices can facilitate recovery after a traumatic incident.

Expect telephone communication to be difficult; texting may be an option if cell phone calls will not work.

Managing Diabetes During an Emergency

Samish members with diabetes are advised to have a plan in place in case of an emergency or a natural disaster to help you self-manage diabetes before, during and after an emergency.  Planning ahead reduces the risk of diabetes-related complications and life-threatening situations.   

Supplies to include in your emergency kit:

  • 30 day supply of all medications including insulin
  • Blood glucose testing strips, lancets, 2 meters and batteries
  • Cooler and reusable cold packs to keep meds cold but not frozen
  • Empty plastic bottle or sharps container for syringes, needles and lancets
  • Source of carbohydrate to treat hypoglycemic reactions such asGlucose tablets, juice boxes, soda, sugar, honey or hard candy

Documentation to include:

  • A list of all medical conditions, allergies and prior surgeries
  • A list of all medications, including pharmacy contact info, active prescription info, and eligible refills
  • Contact information for all of your healthcare providers
  • Health insurance card, photo ID, healthcare POA, diabetes etc.

Other recommendations:

  • Wear shoes at all times and examine feet often for infection.
  • Make sure all immunizations including tetanus are up to date.
  • Keep in mind that stress can often cause an increase in blood glucose levels during an emergency.

For additional information, visit mydiabetesemergencyplan.com or call 1-904-353-7878.

Deciding to Stay or Go

During an emergency, one of the first important decisions you will make is whether to shelter-in-place or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use commonsense and available information to make your decision.

If you need to shelter-in-place:

  • Bring children and pets indoors immediately. If your children are at school, do not try to bring them home unless you are instructed to do so by local authorities.
  • Close and lock all outside doors and windows.
  • Turn off all fans, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
  • Get your emergency kit and take everyone into an interior room with few or no windows.
  • listen to the instructions of local authorities on the radio or via CodeRED.
  • If you are instructed to seal the room, use duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal all cracks around the door, etc.
  • Call your emergency contacts and keep your phone handy in case you need to report a life-threatening condition.
  • When you are told the emergency is over, open windows and doors, turn on ventilation systems, and go outside of the building until the air has been circulated and exchanged.

If you need to evacuate:

  • Have a plan — How will you leave and where will you go if you are advised to evacuate? Include this in your family communication plan.
  • Have an emergency kit that you can take with you.
  • Check-in with elders and be ready to assist them if needed.
  • Always follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Before you leave, unplug electronics and lock doors and windows.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters.
  • Remember that returning home before storm debris is cleared is dangerous.

Coping with Stress After a Disaster

Putting your life on hold to combat an emergency can be catastrophic stressor. After an event is over, the American Psychological Association recommends the following steps to begin coping with the possible stress that follows a disaster or emergency:

  • Keep informed of new information and developments, but avoid overexposure to rebroadcasts of the events. Be sure to follow credible sources of information and avoid speculation and rumors.
  • Learn what local resources are available to aid those affected by the tragedy and be prepared to share this information with others.
  • If you feel anxious, angry, or depressed, you’re not alone. Talk to family and friends who are likely experiencing the same feelings.
  • If you have children, talk to them about their fears and the event. Let them know that in time, the tragedy will pass. Don’t minimize the danger, but talk about your family’s ability to cope with tragedy.
  • Feelings of anxiety and depression following a disaster or emergency are natural. If these symptoms continue after order has been restored, or if these feelings begin to overwhelm you, seek professional help.

It is important to do what you can to help those who may be experiencing a mental health crisis in addition to the crisis at hand. As much as possible, take care of yourself and others and be aware of the stress that you or your loved ones may be experiencing.