A month or so ago, Jay in the Animas group on TuDiabetes brought up emergency planning in one of the discussions going on there. With what is happening in Japan now, I thought that would be a good topic to write about.
If you had to run out of your house right now because of an earthquake, would you be prepared? If you were at work like people were on 9/11 when the planes hit the World Trade Center, and although you were safe, there was no transportation to get home, would you be prepared? I have a feeling the answer would be no for most of us.
Although I like to be prepared for things, I don’t think it is possible to be 100% prepared for stuff like that. I also know that when there is an emergency and you have to get out fast, you aren’t going to be thinking about grabbing insulin. Last year, my kitchen started filling up with smoke. I thought it was the microwave because I had just used it to heat up water for tea, but I was not sure. After unplugging the microwave, I called 911 and went outside to wait for the firemen.
I was still using the Navigator then and I left that sitting on my desk, along with my meter and insulin pens. I just wanted to get outside and was not worried about diabetic supplies. If my house had burned down and it was not some kind of emergency that affected the whole town, I would have been able to get insulin and whatever else I needed easily – maybe not easily, but I would be able to either get it or go to the hospital. But if I had run out because of an earthquake and everything around was falling down, getting insulin might not be so easy.
Look at what is going on in Japan. First they had the earthquake hit. At 8.9 on the Richter scale, that was a pretty big earthquake. Then they had a Tsunami and are now dealing with problems at nuclear plants. They said that there was very little warning for the Tsunami so those that did manage to get out of harms way really did not have time to think about taking stuff with them. Now there are fires going on and reporters on CNN are calling it an Apocalyptic scene. What would you do if you were living there and did not have your supplies with you?
The people working in Tokyo did not have the major damage from the earthquake or Tsunami, but like people working in NYC on 9/11, they were not able to get home. What kind of supplies do you have with you at work if something happened and you could not get home?
I was on Lantus when I was working and although I would never think about leaving home without my Humalog or meter, I did not take my Lantus to work with me. When I started taking Levemir, I took that every 8 hours so I always took a pen with me wherever I went. Now that I am on the pump, I have a syringe in my purse just in case something happens to my pump and I would need to get insulin out of it to use for injections.
I am thinking that it probably would not hurt to have a bag near the door with some supplies in. I have a backup meter and could put that in the bag along with some test strips, syringes, glucose and pump supplies. Because every thing is dated, I would change them out every 3 months when I get new supplies. Of course that would not solve the problem of getting insulin out of the fridge, but it would still be better than not having anything. In an emergency, hospitals might be able to help with insulin, but they probably won’t be handing out test strips.