During hurricane season, power outages are a commonplace. For most people, these power outages are an inconvenience. For those on oxygen therapy, it can be more concerning. Being prepared for a hurricane is paramount – especially for oxygen therapy users.
With a little bit of planning, you can prevent having unnecessary stress during an already stressful situation. We have created a list of things to consider when making your preparedness plan.
1. Before the hurricane hits:
- Call your doctor - You should have a list of questions to ask them such as how much medication should you have on hand, will your doctor be available, and do they have any other recommendations for you. It is also good for you to keep a copy of your oxygen prescription on hand.
- If you have a portable oxygen concentrator, ensure your batteries are charged and in proper working order. If you do not have a portable oxygen concentrator, you might want to procure one in case of emergency.
- Call your electric company - Let them know that you are someone who requires oxygen. This may not keep the electricity from going out, but it can help the provider prioritizes your location for restoring power.
- Call your oxygen provider – Find out if they have an emergency number in case of a power outage or downed lines. You should always have a backup solution for your oxygen. If you always use your portable oxygen concentrator have an extra charged battery and/or 1 tank filled just-in-case. This will allow you to get to a power source in case you are without power longer than your batteries last.
Now that you have answers to the questions above you can create your plan of action.
- Create a plan for where you will go if you have enough notice.
- Do not stay home alone.
- Find out where the nearest shelter will be in-case that is your only option.
- Create a checklist of the items that you should take with you. We have created a suggested list below:
- Your 2 week supply of medications
- Your portable oxygen concentrator (or tanks)
- Have a DC charger if you have a portable oxygen concentrator that you can use the power in your car to recharge your batteries if necessary.
- Put your important papers such as a driver’s license, health insurance cares, medication list, prescriptions and important phone numbers in a water-proof container.
- Take water, non-perishable food and anything you may need for special dietary needs.
- Take a small cooler if needed with frozen gel packs.
- Flashlight, weather radio, and extra batteries.
- A change of clothes and shoes.
- Keep your medical supplies off of the floor and in a dry, safe place.
2. During the natural disaster:
- Stay Calm: Emotional stress can increase your heart rate and quicken your breathing, causing increased demands for more oxygen from the body.
- Use battery-powered lights only. Candles or open flames may worsen your breathing disorder.
- If you experience breathing problems, refer to the advice you received from your doctor about what to do during this situation.
- If you do not get relief by doing above, call 911 for emergency help.
3. After the natural disaster:
- Remain indoors until you have been notified it is safe to go outside.
- When going out be aware that there may be hazards such as downed powerline, debris, and flooding.
- If you remained at home and there are power outages keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to maintain the cold for a long as possible.
- Mold and mildew can grow quickly on anything that gets wet. Remove them from your home immediately.