Natural disasters often bring with them fires, floods, water contamination, and power outages. While these may do serious damage to property, they can also mean severe injury/illness or death to people who depend on lifesaving medical devices. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides tips to help those device-dependent individuals get through a disaster.
- If you depend on life-saving medical devices, notify your local Public Health Authority to request evacuation prior to adverse weather events.
- Keep your device in as clean and secure location as possible: off the ground, away from animals or crowded areas.
- Always check your device for pests before you use it (e.g., syringes, mechanical devices).
- If your device appears to be damaged, or if you need a back-up device, contact your distributor or device manufacturer.
Prior to a Power Outage
- Notify your electric company and fire department to let them know you have a medical device that needs power.
- Call your distributor or device manufacturer to find out if your device can be used with batteries or a generator.
In the Event of a Power Outage
- Check all power cords and batteries to make sure they are not wet or damaged by water.
- Always use battery powered flashlights or lanterns rather than gas lights or torches when oxygen is in use (to minimize the risk of fire).
- Maintain your device only in a well lit area so you can assess your device's performance (e.g., refilling your insulin pump, checking your glucose meter).
- When the power is restored, check to make sure the settings on your medical device have not changed (medical devices may reset to a default mode when power is interrupted).
Flooding and Water Contamination
- Keep all medical devices and supplies clean and dry.
- Make sure you check for water before plugging in your device. Do not plug in a power cord if the cord or the device is wet.
- If electrical circuits and electrical equipment have gotten wet, turn off the power at the main breaker.
- Use only bottled, boiled, or treated water when using, cleaning medical devices.
- When bottled boiling water is not an option, you can treat water with chlorine tablets, iodine tablets, or unscented household chlorine bleach.
Heat and Humidity
- Heat and humidity can have an effect on home diagnostic test kits (including blood glucose tests used by people with diabetes).
- Heat and humidity can damage blood glucose meters and test strips or render the test results inaccurate.
- If you use a blood glucose meter, check the meter and test strip package insert for information on use during unusual heat and humidity.
- Store and handle the meter and test strips according to the instructions.
- Perform quality-control checks to make sure that your home glucose testing is accurate and reliable.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including defective products, trucking accidents, maritime accidents, and other catastrophic accidents.
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