As Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida and Georgia brace for Tropical Storm Dorian, a potential category 2 hurricane, that is currently expected to make landfall early between Thursday and Friday, the diabetes community is rallying to make sure that people living with diabetes—especially those who depend upon insulin—are fully supported. The Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition (DDRC), which is comprised of the nation’s leading diabetes organizations, is urging all people with diabetes and their loved ones to prepare by putting together a diabetes kit and making a plan to stay healthy and safe during the storm and in its aftermath.
The DDRC has created a Patient Preparedness Plan to help people with diabetes face the unique challenges of effectively managing their diabetes during times of disaster. Major storms may knock out electricity for hours, days, or longer, making it difficult to refrigerate or store life-saving insulin. Medication and diabetes supplies may be lost, damaged, or run out, and drinking water and healthy food may be difficult to find.
“When life is in a crisis mode, diabetes adds even more obstacles,” said Erin Callahan, Director of Consumer and Community Impact for the American Diabetes Association. “We know securing medication can be a challenge. Our goal, as a coalition, is to ensure that people with diabetes have swift and adequate access to healthcare, information and supplies.”
DDRC’s Patient Preparedness Plan also includes a checklist of supplies, information and guidelines to best prepare a person with diabetes in the case of an emergency or natural disaster and can be found on the Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition (DDRC) site. Click here to download the Patient Preparedness Plan.
“We encourage all health care providers to reach out to their patients with diabetes and urge them to download this plan and put it into action,” said Carol Atkinson, Director of Insulin for Life USA and Co-Chair of DDRC.
During an emergency, it is critical for people with diabetes to have access to the medications and testing supplies needed to maintain blood glucose control, and to prevent serious sudden complications such as hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. People living with diabetes should download the Patient Preparedness Plan and gather their important diabetes resources.
Additional resources include two phone lines for assistance:
1-800-DIABETES for individuals with diabetes care needs. ADA’s Center for Information, 1-800-DIABETES, is open from 9:00 a.m. ET to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; and
1-314-INSULIN for physicians and health care providers to get connected to diabetes supplies.
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About the DDRC
The Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition (DDRC) formed in 2017 in response to a succession of devastating Atlantic hurricanes that impacted the mainland US and territories. The DDRC (formerly known as DERC) is a national coalition of nonprofit and for-profit stakeholder organizations dedicated to serving the needs of the diabetes community and/or who have a role in planning and executing supply chains, public awareness and health care services during times of disasters.
DDRC members include the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Insulin for Life USA, JDRF, the American Association for Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), Beyond Type 1, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, the Endocrine Society, Insulet Corporation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Lilly Diabetes, Sociedad Puertorriquena Endocrinologia y Diabetologia (SPED), and T1D Exchange, among many others. The DDRC and the Diabetes Patient Preparedness Plan can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
About the American Diabetes Association
Every day more than 4,000 people are newly diagnosed with diabetes in America. Nearly 115 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes and are striving to manage their lives while living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For nearly 80 years the ADA has been driving discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. We help people with diabetes thrive by fighting for their rights and developing programs, advocacy and education designed to improve their quality of life. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).