Preparing for Storms and Weather Emergencies With CKD
Last updated: November 2023
Natural disaster emergencies can heighten anxiety for those living in affected areas. It's no wonder that people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have added worries when facing forecasts filled with storms or weather emergencies.
Managing CKD through a disaster can be challenging. But taking active steps to prepare for emergencies can help reduce fear and ensure you have a solid plan in place for when bad weather strikes.
Preparing means sorting out your needs before an emergency ever occurs. Take time to plan and gather all of your medicines, dialysis supplies, emergency gear, and lists together in one place. That way you are ready if you need to evacuate or manage without power. Regularly check and update your lists and supplies to keep them current.1-3
Gather emergency numbers and information on one document. Keep it in a safe, easily accessible place. If you work outside the home, keep a copy at your work. If you own a car, consider keeping a copy locked in the glove box. This list should include:1-3
- Your doctor’s name, phone number, and location.
- Your pharmacy name, phone number, and location.
- Your dialysis center, phone number, and location.
- Another dialysis center close to your area. If yours closes, or you cannot get there, know your alternatives! List names, phone numbers, and locations.
- All your current drugs, dosages, and when you take them.
- Which (if any) drugs need refrigeration.
Along with your list of numbers, put together a disaster kit. It should be easy to find and grab in an emergency. Include items such as:1-3
- First-aid kit
- Battery-powered AM/FM radio
- Lots of extra batteries
- Candles and matches
- Fire extinguisher
- A 2-week supply of medications and dialysis supplies (be sure to keep this current, switching out to avoid expiration dates)
- Can opener
- Mask, gloves, and hand sanitizer
- Disposable eating utensils
Advocating for yourself
Self-advocacy is very important when living with a chronic illness. Preparing for a natural disaster with CKD is a time to use those skills. Self-advocacy is gathering details ahead of time to help you. Emergencies are less scary when you feel prepared.1-3
- Contact your utility companies. Inform them of your CKD. Some companies prioritize restoring power to those with medical equipment. Those on dialysis should qualify for this service.
- Map evacuation routes out of your neighborhood. Be sure you consider multiple options in case one route closes.
- Get a medical alert bracelet, identifying that you have CKD or are on dialysis. Finding a seatbelt cover labeling you as a person on dialysis can also be helpful.
- If you are on home dialysis, learn to do exchanges without power. Discuss this process with a dialysis nurse or doctor. Practice this process in a non-emergency situation.
- Learn how to stop and take yourself off home dialysis during an emergency.
- Have a landline phone that is not dependent on power. Cell service may go out during an emergency. Remember that texts use less power than phone calls.
- Establish an emergency contact person. This should be someone who will check on you in an emergency.
Prepare a 3-day emergency diet
Living with CKD involves a more restrictive diet. You may need to make changes during an emergency if you cannot maintain your dialysis schedule. Discuss the 3-day emergency diet with your doctor. Develop a plan together for what your unique body needs. Have a printout of what and when you should eat and drink each day on the emergency diet. Keep the emergency diet foods on hand. Replace them regularly so they do not expire.1-3
This or That
In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?
Do you have chronic kidney disease without any symptoms?