Are You Prepared For A Local Disaster?
When there is a local disaster, it is important to be prepared - especially when living with COPD. There are many types of local disasters that you should think through. Weather related disasters are the most common: tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, blizzards, floods and fires. There are other forms of disasters, but really, if you have prepared for these, you are well on your way to being prepared for most things.
Think through the things that you know you cannot be without. I am going to assume that you will already take care of your need for food and water. Beyond this you should think about your oxygen needs, medication and equipment.
Probably the biggest concern for those on oxygen 24/7 is power. If there is no power, the oxygen concentrator will not work. You will need to think about your back ups as well as your primary source of oxygen. To ensure that you have power, a generator that will take care of the concentrator, is something to strongly consider. There are gas powered generators, and there are solar powered generators. With gas powered generators, you will need good ventilation, and you will need to be able to keep the generator away from the oxygen. You will also need a way to store enough gas to run the generator for a few days. Solar powered generators are expensive, but they are quieter and will not have the odor associated with gas generators. You will need to include the cost of batteries in the cost of the solar power generator. You will need the batteries in order to store the energy that you will use during the night.
It is always good to have a back up for the oxygen. For me, I always felt better when I had a back up for my back up. The old fashioned oxygen E tanks are a good back up. When you have liquid oxygen tanks to refill your portable units, it is difficult to keep enough on hand, at all times, to make it through a local disaster. Talk to your oxygen supply company to determine how many E tanks you should have available. It is most company's policy to deliver what you need, when you need it. However, I ran into several times that our 100 lb. liquid tanks would run out completely before the next delivery. Those are uneasy times when there are no other back ups available.
Keep extra supplies on hand of cannulas, masks, nebulizer pieces and long and short oxygen lines. Distilled water should be on your list of stored items since it is needed in the operation of some pieces of equipment. I know that mom's BiPAP machine needed distilled water, and there were times that she used distilled water in the concentrator, especially when the house was very dry.
Last, it is important to keep a small supply of medication available at all times. This means never waiting until the last minute to reorder your medication. For some people in the end stage, running out of medication is a major problem, maybe only second to not having access to oxygen.
It is always best to have planned ahead rather than to find yourself in the middle of an ice storm without enough medication to last until the roads are safe to drive again. Being prepared for local disasters will bring a little peace to an overwhelming situation.
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