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Veterans Health Administration

Prepared? It’s about your pills...and much more.

hand with a pen marking a checklist by an emergency kit

 

Important Checklists. Really? Really!

If you’re a Veteran receiving VA health care, do you have enough medication if your current supply ran out and you couldn’t get to the drug store or your VA medical center?

In addition to your prescription medicines:

  • Have you stocked up on other expendable health supplies?
  • Do you have a backup plan for others around you who need care?
  • Did you remember to keep a list of medications and other important health documents ready to go?
  • Do you have emergency phone numbers at the ready? Doctor? VA Hospital? Ambulance?
  • Have you stocked up on plenty of food and water?

September is National Preparedness Month. Reminding us this month of things we should review every month.

We should prepare for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.

Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as making an emergency supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency.

There is a great preparedness website called Ready.gov. Your kids and grandkids will love it. It will give them ideas for projects that could get a blue ribbon at school…or maybe even save some lives.

Vets with Disabilities and Other Access Needs

In addition to Ready.gov’s recommended items to include in a basic emergency supply kit, people with disabilities and other access and functional needs may wish to read the special section of Ready.gov dedicated to people with disabilities.

Now is the time to plan ahead for what you may need to stay safe, healthy, informed, mobile, and independent during a disaster. Remember that a disaster may require sheltering-in-place at home or evacuating to an emergency shelter or other form of temporary housing.

As you prepare, consider all the strategies, services, devices, tools and techniques you use to live with a disability on a daily basis.

Consider family, neighbors, friends, people who provide services to you, along with faith-based and community groups. Tell these people where you keep your emergency supplies. Give at least one member of your support network a key to your house or apartment.

Consider all the services and tools you use to live with a disability on a daily basis.

If you receive dialysis or other life sustaining medical treatment, identify the location and availability of more than one facility and work with your provider to develop your personal emergency plan. Show others how to operate your wheelchair or other assistive devices.

Keep in mind that during an emergency, you may need to explain to first responders and emergency officials that you need to evacuate and shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, or personal assistance provider so they can provide the support you need to maintain your health, safety and independence.

Things in Your “Go Kit” may include:

  • Extra eyeglasses or hearing aids
  • Battery chargers and extra batteries for battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices
  • Copies of medical prescriptions and doctors’ orders
  • Medical alert tags or bracelets or written descriptions of your disability and support needs
  • Supplies for your service animal
  • Medical insurance cards, Medicare/Medicaid cards, physician contact information, list of your allergies and health history
  • A list of personal contacts, family and friends that you may need to contact in an emergency
  • If possible, extra medicine, oxygen, insulin, catheters, or other medical supplies you use regularly

Make a Plan

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance:

  • How you will contact one another?
  • How you will get back together?
  • What you will do in different situations?

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Additional Items for an Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil

Put Ready.gov in your web browser’s Favorites. They have a vast library of information (in 13 languages!). Print it out. Tape it on the fridge. You never know when you may need it.