“Weathering the Storm”: Emergency Planning Tips for People with Cancer

“Weathering the Storm”: Emergency Planning Tips for People with Cancer


It’s that time of year again… Hurricane season is here and right now, everyone on the East coast is busy making preparations for super storm Sandy aka “Frankenstorm”.  We’ve been told to expect high winds, flooding & major power outages that could last for several days.


People with cancer have specific medical needs, especially during active treatment and in the time following treatment.  Here are some tips to help cancer patients get ready for the storm courtesy of @SecureACure4MS, Let’sTalkAboutMS and Cancer.net (plus I added few of my own ;-))


1.  Make sure your meds supply is up-to-date and you have all you need for a few days or longer.  If it is not possible to have an extra supply of medications on hand, talk with your pharmacist or doctor about what else you should do to prepare.  Keep in mind if the electricity goes out for a long time, it will be difficult to keep medications refrigerated.

2.  Keep extra cash on hand, not just credit cards and debit cards. No electricity means credit cards and debit cards can not be processed.

3.  Stock up on flashlights and keep them all in a specific spot so you know exactly where everything is.

4.  Stock up on batteries and make sure you have plenty of different sizes-  AAA, Double AA, C’S & D’S.

5.  Stock up on candles and butane lighter- you can use the long ones to start up your BBQ grill or gas stovetop.

6.  Gas up your cars and buy a car charger for your cell phone. After your cell loses its “juice”, you can always run out to your car to charge your phone.

7.  Stock up on foods that you eat regularly and that don’t need a refrigerator, such as energy bars, peanut butter, crackers and canned fruit (don’t forget a non-electric can opener).  Talk with your doctor about any vitamin, mineral, or protein supplement to help you get the nutrition you need.

8.  Get a “old school phone”- a phone with a cord.  If you lose power, you can remove the battery-powered phone from the jack and use the phone with a cord which doesn’t require batteries.
9.  Make sure your power company knows your disabled (they keep that on file) and USUALLY if you lose power, they attend to those first listed as “disabled” first.

10.  Store up on both distilled and regular bottled water.  Each day a person needs to drink at least 2 quarts (a half gallon) of water. Plan on an additional half-gallon of water per person to prepare food and for personal hygiene. If the person with cancer is taking medication that makes them extra thirsty, plan on having even more water.  Have enough water for at least three days.

11.  Buy a flashlight/radio that can be cranked to generate power so you can listen to the radio.

12.  Make an emergency bag with extra clothes for you & your family, tooth brushes, toothpaste, brush and other personal items.  Also include a list of your meds as well as the names, addresses & phone numbers of your doctors.

13.  If you have pets make sure you have enough food for them, as well as any meds they need for aliments.

14.  Have the kids charge their Nintendo DS, Nooks, Kindles so if you lose power you make sure the kids are occupied.  😉

15.  If you have an extra freezer, store bags of ice in it.  And if you do lose power, move those bags of ice in your refrigerator and freezer to help keep things from spoiling.  Open and close the door to the refrigerator or freezer as little as possible so the cold air doesn’t escape.

16.  Consider making a reservation at a nearby hotel BEFORE the storm hits.  Hotels typically have generators which means electricity.  You can always cancel with notice if you don’t need to move out.

If you have any other suggestions or tips, please post them below.  Knowledge is power… share the power, please.  


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