Disaster Tip Sheet: Wildfires

Disaster Tip Sheet: Wildfires

Preparing Your Health for Wildfires

  •  Fill prescriptions on time or ahead of time, if you can
    • Call your pharmacist to ask if your prescriptions can be filled early
    • When filling prescriptions at the pharmacy, use mail-order delivery or call in your prescriptions ahead of time, and use drive-thru or curbside pickup options when available.
    • View Healthcare Ready’s blog on the refill-too-soon laws by state.
  • 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
      • COVID-19 Testing Centers
  • 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, important documents, cash if possible, and supplies to protect you and others from COVID-19 including multiple masks for everyone 2 years and older, soap and disinfectant wipes
    • Pack all medications in a resealable, waterproof bag
  • Have an evacuation plan
    • Use your state emergency management agency and RedCross.org/Shelters website to find local shelters
    • Identify back-up locations, such as the homes of loved ones or motelsIf you have pets, look for places that accept pets
    • Plan several routes to your back-up 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
  • If you need to stay at a shelter or evacuate, practice COVID-19 public shelter safety precautions and general COVID-19 safety precautions on transportation like wearing a mask, washing hands often with soap and water, and staying six feet apart from others.
  • Pay close attention to local guidelines about updated evacuation plans and emergency sheltering.
  • 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
    • Cancer: If you have a cancer survivorship care plan, keep a copy handy and take steps to lower your risk for infections
  • 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
  • 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
    • Visit HealthcareReady.org/Rx-on-the-Run to fill yours out!

Protecting Your Health During a Wildfire

  • Use RxOpen.org to find open pharmacies near you
  • Check with your health insurance provider for emergency support resources and hotlinesStart by calling the number on the back of your insurance card for assistance
  • Stay indoors to limit exposure to smoke in the airWhen outside, wear a KN95 mask to keep the air your breath free from harmful particles; know that cloth masks will not protect you from wildfire smoke.

Recovering from a Wildfire

  • Wait for an alert from authorities that water is safe to drink before drinking tap water without boiling it first
  • Watch weather alerts for information on the air quality
  • 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
    • Be careful of ash, embers, and burning debris
    • 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
    • When checking up on friends and family, don’t forget to continue practicing COVID-19 safety precautions like wearing a mask, washing hands often with soap and water, and staying six feet apart from others.
  • 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

Download our Wildfire Tip Sheet here:

This Tip Sheet was created thanks to the generous support of Eli Lilly



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