Be prepared and stay healthy with key tips from the California State Board of Pharmacy
If a natural disaster or other declared emergency strikes your community, you may be forced to leave home with little notice.
Preparing a go bag—especially if you take prescription drugs or use specialized health care items—is critical. In addition, it’s important to know how to care for your medical needs if you are in a public shelter or away from home for an extended period.
Here are some tips from the California State Board of Pharmacy to help you prepare your medications in advance and stay safe during an evacuation.
- Pack a “patient care kit” in a waterproof bag. Important items to pack include:
- At least one week’s supply of your prescription medications. NOTE: It is important to periodically use and replenish this supply so the medications in your kit are always fresh and not expired.
- A list of your medical contacts including your doctor’s office and pharmacy.
- A complete list of your current medications including drug names, dosages, and allergies. Also include any over-the-counter drugs and supplements you are taking.
- Copies of your medication prescriptions.
- Copies of your medical insurance, Medi-Cal, or Medicare cards.
- Specialized health care items you may use, including:
- Extra hearing aid batteries
- Oxygen supply
- An extra pair of eyeglasses
- Wheelchair batteries
- If you take medications that require refrigeration, have a cooler with ice packs available. Also add nonperishable food items if you must take medications with a meal.
- Have a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks to cover copayments or buy supplies. Remember that automated teller machines and electronic payment transactions may not be available if power is out.
- Go to Healthcare Ready at healthcareready.org to fill out and print a personalized wallet card with your prescriptions and important patient information.
- Take your medications. It is important to stay on your medication treatment plan.
- Take care of your medications. Make sure your medications are not exposed to water or extreme temperatures.
- Find a pharmacy. Go online to Rx Open to find an open pharmacy in areas impacted by disaster: healthcareready.org/rxopen. Be aware conditions may change rapidly, so call ahead if possible to verify the pharmacy is open.
Packing a supply of prescription medications and other essential items in your go bag will save critical time and help protect your health if you are forced to leave home suddenly. In addition, knowing you are prepared for an emergency can provide peace of mind. Be prepared!
For more information on California pharmacy professionals, their licensure, and their vital services, visit https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov; to check a professional’s license, visit https://search.dca.ca.gov.