On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast leaving behind a path of destruction in New Orleans and other cities in Southern Louisiana and Mississippi. In the weeks and months that followed, we learned a good deal about the needs of those with diabetes under disaster conditions. In setting up temporary clinics for patients in our diabetes research studies, we learned firsthand through clinic visits and phone conversations what these patients were enduring in the absence of basic necessities and the difficulties they were having in controlling their blood sugar levels without the availability proper foods or medications. Most were completely unprepared to independently manage their diabetes and maintain a state of wellness. Read More
As a result of what we learned, we have developed a very basic survival guide intended for use by our patients in preparation for another disaster that would necessitate leaving home or possibly being stranded at home. While we all live in hope that disaster will never strike, we have learned by hard, painful experience that preparations are extremely valuable when our worst fears are realized.
Our Diabetes-Specific Disaster Survival Guide can easily be adapted to any threatened disaster and any population group. While preparations are critical for everyone, vulnerable populations such as the chronically ill, the elderly, children and pregnant women must be prepared to manage their basic needs for a minimum of two to three days. We suggest that people spend a few minutes asking themselves what items would absolutely be needed if they were stranded on an uninhabited island for several days. What would they include as specific needs, understanding that they would need to be able to carry or pull those supplies, perhaps alone? The Survival Kit suggested in our Guide can be composed of many items that most households have readily available and will not need to purchase. Other items, which may need to be purchased, can be purchased from dollar stores for very little cost. Putting together a Survival Kit should be in the affordable price range for nearly everyone. While our survival guide offers suggestions, everyone needs to develop a list that works for him/her individually—the list is the first step in getting prepared.