Preparing for an Emergency When You Have COPD
Last updated: April 2023
Where I live, here in Illinois, we have to be prepared for everything because of our weather. We have windy, cold winters.
In the spring and summer, we have thunderstorms and tornados. Our electricity goes out many times in different seasons.
This past Friday, we had a tornado hit in two different directions from us. One was north of us, about 10 miles, and the other was southeast of us, about 10 miles away. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but there was a lot of damage.
Fortunately, all we got were high winds and thunderstorms. We did lose electricity, but it only lasted about four hours.
Not long for some but for others on oxygen and other electric medical devices, that can be a very long time if you aren't properly prepared.
Value of emergency natural disaster preparation
My cousin's ex-daughter-in-law lost their house and belongings during that tornado that hit just north of us on Friday night. I can’t imagine what they are going through, and I think about if that were to happen to us, would we have had everything that I needed in my emergency kit?
First, when your oxygen company brings you oxygen for the first time, they should have brought you a big tank or multiple tanks to help you get by until the electricity gets back on or until you get to a safe place.
Second, if you are on oxygen, make sure your electric company knows this, and they will put you on the high-priority list.
Third, have a plan. Think about where you live and how the weather is in your area. Do you have hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, flooding, etc.? Should you have something planned ahead of time?
Tips for emergency preparedness with COPD
Even if it isn’t the weather, I think it's important to be prepared in case of any emergency or situation that may come up.
Start with making a disaster plan chart. Have a list of emergency contacts and your contacts in case you would lose your cell phone. Years ago, we used to all know each other's numbers, but with the handy use of cell phones, a lot of us, including myself, don’t have these numbers memorized.
Make some lists like a to-do list or a to-stay list so you have things available for both situations in an emergency. Be prepared to stay home for days or to be gone for a long period.
Some of the things that I would like to have prepared are, as I stated above, a big bottle of oxygen by my bed, and I have some oxygen tanks down the basement as well, in case of a tornado warning.
I have all of my batteries charged for my portable and make sure my cell phone is fully charged. My husband has a generator outside that he will hook up an extension cord to.
It will run my concentrator, our tv, and a heat source if it's cold. We could also hook up the fridge if we know it's going to be a long time. I have a bag filled with all of my meds, med list, clothing, medical devices, chargers, etc., along with anything else that I think I might need if we’d have to end up leaving just for the night or a long period.
We like to keep extra bottled water on hand as well. I try to have two of everything if I can afford it so I can always have something prepared to go in a hurry.
I got my suggestions for emergencies from the COPD Foundation website. They have a printout of these lists and a handbook of it on their website as well if you are interested.
What area do you live in, and what types of situations must you be prepared for? Do you have a kit prepared?
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