WINTER STORM: Tips for medicines, medical supplies if power lost

With power outages possible, check medicines, medical equipment options, alternatives now

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Power outages, whether planned for public safety or unexpected due to inclement weather, can be scary and may disrupt your day-to-day life.

“With a little preparation and planning, people can help ease the disruption and inconvenience caused by either a planned or unexpected power outage,” said Brian Poer, Operations Manager for American Medical Response (AMR).

AMR offers these tips for preparing for and surviving a power outage:

Preparing for an outage:

Prepare now if you have special medical needs. If you or a loved one require a powered medical device or refrigerated medication, work with your healthcare provider to develop a backup plan to ensure your health and safety during a power outage.

Conduct a household inventory. Take stock of the essential items you use each day that operate using electricity. Once you’ve reviewed your list, research alternative means of power for these devices. Things like battery packs can be purchased to help power cell phones and other small electronic devices.

Have an emergency kit ready. An emergency kit is essential for both unexpected and planned outage events because it provides necessary items for your household, like flashlights, batteries, bottled water, a first aid kit and non-perishable foods. It is a good idea to store your kit in an easily accessible place known to everyone in your household.

Sign up for emergency alerts. If your city, town, county or power provider offers an emergency alert system, make sure you sign up to receive notifications.

When an outage occurs:

Use precaution with perishable foods. Refrigerators will keep food cold for about four hours and freezers for about 48 hours if the doors remain closed. For planned outages lasting more than 4 hours, use coolers and ice to help keep perishable foods safe for consumption for longer.

Rely on non-perishable goods. During extended outages, make sure you maintain a supply of non-perishable items like cereals, nutritional bars, trail mix, and canned fruits and vegetables. Select foods you know your family will eat and always consider any food allergies or special dietary needs.

Be aware of carbon monoxide risks. Never use generators, outdoor grills or camping stoves indoors. Make sure that outdoor cookers are always placed on level ground far away from your home and garage. Do not place outdoor cookers on wooden decks, near woodpiles or under trees.

Don’t fall vulnerable to extreme temperatures. If an outage occurs during an extreme weather event, find a local community heating or cooling shelter and seek refuge.

Avoid power surges and spikes. When power is restored to your home, it may do so with momentary surges or spikes, which can cause damage to your appliances and electronics. Make sure to turn off or disconnect these items ahead of power restoration.

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