Are You Prepared?
Last updated: October 2023
The headlines have been filled with a wide range of natural disasters as of late – wildfires, floods, and hurricanes top the most recent news. Tornados, hurricanes, and warm weather storms will soon be followed by cold weather events such as blizzards and power outages. The one thing these weather events all have in common is that they highlight the need to have my own emergency preparedness plan, should any of these occur in my hometown. Regardless of the season, it is pretty much guaranteed that the next natural disaster is looming on the horizon and we can be assured that it could challenge our readiness.
What do we need in an emergency?
The needs of a person living with a chronic disease, like multiple sclerosis (MS), may be very different than the next person without special needs, but there are some common items we all might want to have. It would be simple to put together a box or storage container of emergency items and keep them handy, if you would need quick access to them. A short list of these things might be:
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Cell phone charger
- Copies of important documents such as identification card (driver’s license)
- Blankets, clothing, and shoes
- Bottled water
There are some items that we use every day that aren’t practical to store away, such as our cell phones and medications, but we can make a list of those last-minute items that we would need to grab in an emergency. You can stick that list in your box for quick reference, in case you might over look them at the last moment.
Electronic backup plans
Most of us have cell phones where we can store important information such as medical records, telephone numbers, and insurance contact information. Have you taken the time to put all these essentials into your phone? I will confess I have not. Even better, have you backed up all that information on your phone to the cloud or another remote storage site? That way if your phone is lost, you can still access all of your data that you had stored with a new device.
Emergency planning: MS considerations
For people with complex medical conditions, such as MS, there might be other items to consider such as medications and medical records. Is your doctor’s contact information handy to retrieve? Have you signed up for electronic medical records through your medical provider’s office so you can get your records remotely if needed? Do you have special medication that requires refrigeration? What about all the hygiene bowel and bladder needs of a person with MS? I would be in a world of hurt without my catheters which require a prescription to get.
There are many different items you might need in your emergency box and I would love to hear any other items you would include. It is hard to plan on a natural disaster when you don’t know when or even IF it might occur, but we do hard things all the time, so that’s not a good excuse. Please follow the scout motto and be prepared for whatever nature might bring your way. You never know when it might be needed.
Wishing you well,
What does advocacy mean to you as someone living with multiple sclerosis? Please select all that apply: