Survival Tips for Chronically Ill;
Coping With Extreme Heat from Weather Disasters & Power Outages
Those with chronic illness and their loved ones can best survive power outages and catastrophic weather in hotter regions of the U.S. by planning ahead. The following are things that you and/or your caregiver(s) can do to be prepared:
Ø If you or a loved one has a serious health condition that necessitates constant use of electricity, your doctor can write a letter on your behalf and you can submit it to your local power supplier. This can help in unplanned power outages where the electric company will work to get your power on sooner. Do this ahead of time!
Ø Contact your electric company and request (with a copy of the letter from your doctor) that you be notified before the electricity is turned off for a “blackout.”
Ø Keep a cell phone fully charged so you can call for help/assistance.
Ø Establish several alternative shelters or “healthy places” with electricity that you can retreat to such as a friend or relative’s home, hotel, or church/retreat camp, that is outside of the affected area or, a place that has a generator. Do this ahead of time before weather power outages or mandatory blackouts.
Ø Have a caregiver, friend, or relative at the ready to drive you to one of these places. Make sure the vehicle you will be riding in has air conditioning.
Ø Have extra bottled water and hydrating drinks at the ready (pack some in a box or carry bag for travel). Drink hydrating fluids every 15 to 20 minutes OR take generous sips every 3 minutes.
Ø Wear lightweight cotton clothing (natural fibers that breathe). Loose drawstring cotton pants or skirt, light cotton blouse or t-shirt, comfortable slip on shoes or sandals.
Ø Wear a medical bracelet that provides pertinent information about your identity, health conditions, medications, allergies, and emergency "contact person." If you don’t have a bracelet, print this information on an index card and have it laminated (waterproofed) and secure it to your clothing. Also keep a copy of this information in your purse or wallet.
Ø If you have a condition that is exacerbated by direct sunlight or heat and/or, take medicine that requires you to stay out of the sun; have an umbrella and a light weight floppy cotton hat/cap to protect yourself while you are outside. ALSO keep a natural sunscreen (that doesn’t contain irritating chemicals or ingredients) on hand and apply every 30 to 90 minutes.
Ø If there is a chance that you will need to be away from home overnight or for more than a day, pack a bag with your medicine, special supplements, and remedies, and have special medical equipment ready for transport. [Keep in mind that weather disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc., may result in areas being without energy or water supplies for days, and sometimes even weeks. Make sure you make adequate arrangements where you will be staying, and, check with neighbors or the power company to make sure your energy and water sources are restored before returning home.]
Ø If you are on a special diet, pack & label some of these foods, drinks, etc. and keep them ready in your pantry or fridge. Have a portable ice chest nearby to carry them in.
Ø If the power outage is a mandatory rolling blackout, call your electric company to give you an estimated time that your power will be out – if it is only for a few hours or so, ask them to give you a list of areas that will have power. You may be able to take refuge in a church, library, grocery store, restaurant, or shopping mall right in your city and avoid travelling long distances.
Ø Check daily weather reports in your area. You can wait for your local news (or if you have cable), “The Weather Channel” to forecast for your region. But if you have Internet access, you can go to http://www.wunderground.com where you can type in your zip code and get updated (hourly) weather reports and 5 day forecasts for your area (anytime). Also, check out http://www.airnow.gov/ to determine the air quality (ozones and allergen levels) in your area.
Cry Some, Laugh More, Pray Often ~ Jamey Lacy July