Say Ah!’s Emergency Preparedness Tips

by Say Ah! Staff

When it comes to your health, you can never be too prepared. That lesson was driven home this fall at Say Ah! headquarters, which were closed for a week due to both flooding and power outages from Hurricane Sandy.

In addition to having no power, water, heat, cell service, internet, or transportation, we experienced a region-wide failure of our health care system. Hospitals and care facilities were evacuated, doctors’ offices were closed, and in some cases destroyed, pharmacies were subject to the blackout, and the suspension of the postal service meant no mail-order medications.

Despite being closed, we still received numerous personal calls, texts and emails asking us how best to navigate the new health care landscape – and prepare for the next emergency or disaster. We’ve put some of these tips down for you, as well some others that have come up in the aftermath of the storm. Please send us yours at

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst: 
Do as much preparation work in advance since you never know what sort of damage a storm may do.  In fact, don’t even wait for a bad weather forecast (or any emergency) to get organized about your health care. Do it now. It is one of the best things you can do for your health!

  • Keep Important Documents Safe and Easy to Find: Important documents include: a Medication List, a Personal Health History, a List of all Your Care Providers, and Your Insurance Card. Keep copies of these in a waterproof container in an easy to reach spot and email them to yourself so you can keep them online.  In addition, email and mail copies to those on your emergency contact list, which should always include one person outside the region
  • Keep Your Medications and Medical Devices Safe and in Good Supply: Put your medications in a waterproof container or plastic bag and make sure you have at least 10 days worth of everything you take, including all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, herbs, supplements, vitamins, and minerals. Make sure any medical devices you use, like an inhaler or glucose monitor, is safe and also in a waterproof container. If you need a back-up, now is the time to get one
  • Call your Doctor/Care Providers Ahead of Time to Make Emergency Plans: While your phone still works and it is easy to get through, make important calls before the storm so you know what to do in the event services or electricity are knocked out. This is especially important for any in-home care you receive, such as from a visiting nurse or hospice. Also, call your pharmacist or poison control if you need to know how to handle your medications in the emergency, especially medications, such as insulin, that have to be refrigerated
  • Find a Safe Place Away From the Storm: If you need to get to health care or it needs to come to you, go some place safe even if you are not being told to evacuate. If your health depends on continuous or non-stop care, go to a place where it won’t be disrupted
  • Get Medical Help if You Need It: Always seek medical help if you have a change your health (such as breathing difficulty, a cut that has been exposed to flood water)