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Medical Needs in a Disaster

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In a disaster, people with special medical needs have extra concerns. This information will help you and your family prepare for a disaster.


  • Always have at least a three-day supply of all your medications. In some emergencies, such as an influenza pandemic, you may need to prepare for a week or more.
  • Store your medications in one location in their original containers.
  • Keep an updated list of all of your medications: name of medication, dose, frequency, and the name of the prescribing doctor.

Medical Supplies

  • Have an extra three-day supply of any medical supplies you use, such as bandages, ostomy bags or syringes.

Electrically Powered Medical Equipment

  • For all medical equipment requiring electrical power — beds, breathing equipment or infusion
    pumps — check with your medical supply company and get information regarding a back-up power source
    such as a battery or generator.

Oxygen and Breathing Equipment

  • If you use oxygen, have an emergency supply (enough for at least a three-day period).
  • Oxygen tanks should be securely braced so they do not fall over. Call your medical supply company regarding bracing instructions.
  • If you use breathing equipment, have a three-day supply or more of tubing, solutions and medications.

Intravenous (IV) and Feeding Tube Equipment

  • Know if your infusion pump has battery back-up, and how long it would last in an emergency.
  • Ask your home care provider about manual infusion techniques in case of a power outage.
  • Have written operating instructions attached to all equipment.

Emergency Medical Kit

  • In the event that you have to leave your home, keep a bag packed at all times that contains:
    1. A medication list
    2. Medical supplies for at least three days
    3. Copies of vital medical papers such as insurance cards and power of attorney

People Who Can Help

  • An important part of being prepared for a disaster is planning with family, friends and neighbors. Know who can walk to your home to assist you if no other means of transportation is available.
  • Discuss your disaster plans with your home health care provider.
  • Keep a list handy of people who can help and their phone numbers.

Additional Resources