Tips for Emergency Preparedness

Diabetes is already a 24/7 responsibility and an emergency scenario makes diabetes management and care that much more difficult. Whether it's a natural disaster or a national security risk, we have some tips for how people with diabetes and their caregivers can be prepared in case of an emergency.

Have a Plan

Just as you have a fire emergency plan at home or at work, it is important to have a diabetes emergency plan. We recommend using a checklist like the American College of Endocrinology's My Diabetes Emergency Plan to make sure you have all of the necessary information, supplies and medications set aside in advance.

Emergency Supplies

Consider storing at least a weeks' worth of diabetes supplies, which, depending on how you take care of your diabetes, could include oral medication, insulin, insulin delivery supplies, lancets, extra batteries for your meter and/or pump, and a quick-acting source of glucose. You may also want to have an extra glucagon emergency kit.

All these items should be kept in an easy-to-identify container, and stored in a location that is easy to get to in an emergency.

Emergency Contacts

Your emergency supply kit should also contain a list of emergency contacts and, if you are a parent of a child in school or daycare, physician's orders that may be on file with your child's school or day care provider. As always, it is a good idea to wear medical identification that will enable colleagues, school staff members, or emergency medical personnel to identify and address your medical needs.

If you are a parent of a child with diabetes, it is important that your child's school has clearly identified the school staff members who will assist your child in the event of an emergency evacuation.

For those who are away from home, consider informing your colleagues, friends, and family members about your diabetes and where your emergency supply kit is kept.

Taking a few minutes right now to gather supplies and inform those around you about your diabetes, may make a world of difference in maintaining blood glucose control and staying healthy under stressful circumstances.

For additional tips to assist you in managing your diabetes in emergency situations, our book Diabetes 911 may be for you.

Other Resources

Preparing for Pandemic Flu

Medical Advice for People with Diabetes in Emergency Situations (PDF)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal Emergency Management Agency

US Department of Health and Human Services

  • Last Reviewed: June 29, 2015
  • Last Edited: September 6, 2017

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