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COPD and Severe Weather Preparedness

As a caregiver, I tend to adopt the mindset of a Boy Scout: "Always be prepared." Modern technology assisting in weather prediction these days makes it easier to be on the lookout for a storm headed your way.

But how can you be prepared to get up fast and to a safe place with a pile of oxygen tubing, carry yourself and your oxygen canister to that safe location in a manner of moments? Or what do you do if the power goes out in a flash and your in-home oxygen concentrator no longer has the power to operate?

Just reading about these scenarios might create a sense of panic.

Essential COPD severe weather preparedness tips

Let's look at ways to improve your readiness for severe weather, guaranteeing the health and safety of yourself or your loved one with COPD. If you have a medical condition like COPD, the ability to get into your basement or safe place can become a seemingly impossible task once the tornado sirens start or the power outage occurs.

Here are some helpful tips:

Get into the habit of regularly making sure any battery-operated devices are fully charged and at the ready. Examples include weather radios, flashlights, and cell phones.

For those using supplemental oxygen, make sure your battery is fully charged and, if possible, a backup battery that is also fully charged. If possible, have your extra oxygen canister in or near your safe place if you are in the zone for severe weather. If you have a portable oxygen concentrator, make sure the battery is fully charged and in or near your safe place.

Practice and planning

Practice the plan to get to the safe place at least a few times a year. Your mobility levels may fluctuate during the year, and it is good practice to carry out what you would do should the power go out, the tornado sirens sound, or you sense that you should get to your safe place in a hurry. < Start a neighbor buddy system where you all check in with each other by phone or in person. Prepare a to-go bag that includes a day or two of your daily medicines, rescue inhalers, nonperishable food, and a few bottles of water.

If you have pets, some of their nonperishable food, bowl/water, and toys. If you use an electrical outlet-powered oxygen concentrator, most oxygen care providers require you to have oxygen canisters in your home for you to use in the event of a power outage.

Make sure the technicians spend time instructing you how to use them. You do not want to be faced with the emergent need to transfer for your first time to the canister while the tornado sirens are going off.

Empowering COPD patients

There is so much about COPD that you cannot control, but being severe weather-prepared is a way to stay one step ahead of your care plan and ensure that you can continue receiving your supplementary oxygen therapy in any situation.

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

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