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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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Mary Werderitch
    4 years ago

    Tonya thanks for this enlightening is on being prepared.
    A very informative article. Another reason I am glad we have a whole house generator.

  • Tonya Hidalgo moderator author
    4 years ago

    I am so glad that you are prepared. Thank you for your comment. It is something that I rarely thought about before needing to think about mom.

  • Barbara
    4 years ago

    Thank you Tonya for the helpful advice. It is scary being without power, but for those of us who require medical equipment to sustain life it can be downright terrifying…I had my Dr. notify my local power company, that I was on electrical devices (O2 concentrator and nebulizer) that were medically needed to sustain life, so there would be priority when restoring power.. This has given me more peace of mind, pending an outage. Thank you again for all your helpful advice.

  • Tonya Hidalgo moderator author
    4 years ago

    That is great!!! So glad that you are finding helpful information.
    God bless!!

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    4 years ago

    Nice article, Tonya, with good information. Some communities maintain lists of individuals who are on oxygen devices and/or require uninterrupted sources of electricity. This enables their service industries (police, fire departments and utility companies) to facilitate responses to these identified people in times of emergency.

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