While everyone should keep an emergency supply kit at home in case of a natural disaster or prolonged failure of city services, doing so is especially important for anyone with a chronic medical condition such as heart disease.
As a heart disease patient, a key component of your kit will be your medications. If a natural disaster strikes your home region, you may find that you cannot immediately leave your home to fill prescriptions, you may not be able to find a pharmacy that is open for business, or you may be forced to evacuate for a few days or weeks or more.
It is a good idea to keep a one-month supply of your heart medications in your supply kit, along with all of your prescription information. This can free you from the stress of securing these needed medications during an emergency - and it can potentially save your life.
It is important to make sure the medications have not expired. Mark your calendar to refresh your medications (and other items) in your emergency supply kit periodically. You should also talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how and where to store supplies of the particular medications you are taking.
Tips for Building Your Emergency Supply Kit
Start with the basic list below to begin building your kit. In addition, try tracking the items you use over the course of a week to help you think of items you might have forgotten, such as particular medications or types of medical equipment. Without making it a tedious assignment, jot down notes on items as you use them and add back-up supplies of these items where appropriate to your emergency supply kit.
A List to Get You Started
- Water: one gallon per person per day, for a three-day supply
- Food: non-perishable food items, three-day supply (include a can opener if you keep canned goods in your kit)
- Contact information: written addresses and phone numbers for family, friends and treating physicians
- Phone: if possible, a landline phone that does not require electricity
- Radio and batteries
- First-aid kit: basic over-the-counter (OTC) medications and bandages
- Medications: a one-month supply of prescription medications for heart disease and any other conditions, as well as prescription information. If your medications are supposed to be refrigerated, it may be a good idea to keep some ice or frozen ice gel packs on hand along with a cooler to store them in case you lose power for a long period.
- Personal hygiene items
- Flashlight and batteries
In an emergency or during everyday life, it helps to understand your health condition, to maintain a close connection with your healthcare team and to keep your family and friends up-to-date on your health needs, including any medications your are taking or lifestyle changes you are working in (such as quitting smoking or remembering to monitor your blood pressure daily). You can learn about most cardiovascular conditions here.