DISASTER TIP SHEET

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms


Preparing Your Health for Hurricanes

  • Fill prescriptions on time or ahead of time, if you can 
    • Call your pharmacist to ask if your prescriptions can be filled early 
  • Keep a “go-bag” of emergency supplies ready, including your medications
    • Suggested items: first aid kit, flashlight, portable radio, NOAA weather radio, batteries, whistle, blankets, sanitation items, important documents, and cash if possible 
    • Pack all medications in a resealable, waterproof bag
  • Try to keep non-perishable food, water, and can openers on hand
    • Go for canned meats, fruits and vegetables that are ready to eat and can be used in a renal diet
    • Protein bars, cereal, granola, and dried fruit are great snacks to have
    • If possible, try to keep some food, water, and can openers in your “go-bag”
  • Fully charge your electronic devices, and pack spare batteries and chargers 
    • To conserve battery: limit the use of unnecessary apps and switch your phone to low-power mode when fully charged 
  • Keep a list of your local healthcare facilities, with addresses, phone numbers, and emails/websites 
    • Consider these facilities:
      • Hospitals/ERs
      • Pharmacies
      • Urgent care clinics
      • Ancillary care: 
        • Dialysis Centers, Cancer Treatment Centers
  • Have an evacuation plan 
    • Identify back-up locations, such as the homes of loved ones or motels  
      • If you have pets, look for places that accept pets 
    • Plan several routes to your alternative locations
    • Use RxOpen.org to locate pharmacies near your alternative location 
    • Follow the instructions of local officials 
    • Have a communication and reunification plan with everyone in your home 
    • If you are unable to evacuate, alert local emergency management officials and your loved ones or caretakers 
  • Make sure you know your prescription medication and health information – use Rx on the Run to keep a list of your prescriptions
    • Rx on the Run is a personalized wallet-sized card that lists your prescriptions with the latest dosage and instructions 
  • Plan for any chronic conditions you may have 
    • Diabetes: Talk to your pharmacist about keeping a supply of insulin on hand – Try to refrain from eating sugar and other carbohydrates  
    • Kidney disease: Make sure you have access to dialysis treatment and use the renal diet
    • Cardiovascular disease & hypertension: Try to refrain from high-salt and fatty food and aim for 30 minutes of activity a day to manage your blood pressure
    • Pulmonary disease: Work with your supplier to understand options for keeping resupplies of oxygen with you 
    • Disability: Develop alternative transportation plans and identify a trusted caretaker if necessary 
    • Aging: Post emergency numbers near every house phone and cellular phone 
    • Asthma: Have a plan to ensure you have a supply of your asthma medications and supplies
  • Keep a list of helpful hotlines 
    • Healthcare Ready: 1-866-247-2694
    • FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline: 1-800-621-3362
    • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (or text “TalkWithUS” to 66746)
    • Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER): 1-866-901-3773
    • Red Cross: 1-800-733-2767
    • American Diabetes Association: 1-800-342-2283
    • American Heart Association: 1-800-242-8721
    • American Association of People with Disabilities: 1-800-840-8844
    • American Stroke Association: 1-888-478-7653

Protecting Your Health During a Hurricane

  • Make sure your medications remain stable 
    • Some medicines must remain within a certain temperature range
    • Tip: insulin can remain stable between 59°F and 86°F for up to 28 days1
  • Use RxOpen.org to find open pharmacies near you 
  • Beware of floodwater contaminants 
    • Do not drink floodwater 
    • Do not cook, clean, or brush teeth with floodwater 
    • Do not use medication or eat food that has been contaminated with floodwater 
    • Cover open wounds and limit exposure to floodwater, especially if you have cancer or are otherwise immunocompromised 
  • Drink plenty of bottled water and avoid skipping meals or eating spoiled food 
    • Eat nutrient-rich, non-perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables 
    • Perishable foods in the refrigerator will be unsafe to eat after 4 hours without power 
    • Use dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator cold for longer or use an extra cooler 
  • Recognize symptoms of food- or waterborne-illness 
    • If you experience vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, contact a healthcare provider immediately 
  • Do not run gas-powered generators, grills, or heaters indoors (Gas build up can be lethal!)

Recovering After a Hurricane

  • Dispose of food and medicine that may have spoiled or been contaminated with floodwater 
    • Without power, perishable foods only last for 4 hours in the refrigerator and 24-48 hours in the freezer 
  • Check home for mold, gas leaks, and insects 
    • Mold can cause irritation and inflammation of existing respiratory conditions, like asthma 
    • Poisonous and disease-carrying insects are more common after floods 
  • Disinfect cooking and eating surfaces
    • Use boiling water or a solution of one-tablespoon bleach to one-gallon clean water to clean pots, pans, countertops, dishes and silverware 
  • Use caution when cleaning up debris and don’t overexert yourself 
    • Always wear gloves, masks, and protective eyewear, and beware of glass, nails, and other sharp objects
    • If you are cut or scraped, clean and disinfect the wound thoroughly and keep it covered, especially if you have cancer or are otherwise immunocompromised
  • Contact family and friends to let them know you are safe 
    • Check in on your loved ones that may need support 
    • Use text messages instead of phone calls because phone lines might be down
  • Check with your health insurance provider for emergency support resources and hotlines 
    • Start by calling the number on the back of your insurance card for assistance 
    • If you don’t have insurance, call 2-1-1 and ask about local services that may be able to help
    • If there is a disaster declaration, you can also try to apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance for financial support by calling 800-621-3362 or visiting DisasterAssistance.gov

1 https://www.fda.gov/drugs/emergency-preparedness-drugs/information-regarding-insulin-storage-and-switching-between-products-emergency


This tip sheet was created thanks to generous support from Eli Lilly and Company.