The current bushfire emergency situation in our Eastern states is unprecedented and thousands of people have found themselves evacuated at short notice. Unfortunately, it is a timely reminder that Western Australia is also a state prone to large bushfire emergencies.
People living with diabetes are at greater risk during emergencies, and not just because of the need to keep vital supplies, insulin, and medications with them. Emergency situations can be very stressful. Stress, anxiety, upheaval, temperature extremes, changes in food intake and levels of activity can affect your blood glucose levels. More frequent checking and insulin adjustments may be necessary.
If you are part of the WA diabetes community, especially if you live in bushfire prone areas, then we’d like to remind you to have a disaster and emergency plan and kit ready to go. If you don’t have one, now is the time to prepare one in case you need to be evacuated or are on high alert.
What to take in your “Diabetes Emergency Kit” or “Go Bag”?
This depends on your individual self-management routine and we suggest discussing your requirements with your health professional.
As a guide, your kit should include:
- 2 week supply of insulin, plus syringes or insulin pens and needles
- Cooler pack to store insulin
- 2 week supply of diabetes medications
- CGM or flash monitor supplies
- Blood glucose testing supplies including monitor, spare batteries, lancets, ketone and blood glucose strips
- Pump supplies and spare sets
- Sharps container
- Alcohol swabs, cotton balls, tissues, bandaids
- Hypoglycaemia kit containing soft drinks or UHT juice, jellybeans, glucose tablets and non-perishable carbohydrate foods
- Your prescriptions for insulin and medications and your NDSS card
- Heel balm for feet
- Pen and notebook for recording blood glucose levels
In emergency and disaster situations, mobile phone reception and electricity supply can go down quickly, so your diabetes emergency plan needs to be non-reliant on mobile phone coverage and electrically charged devices.
If you already have a diabetes “Go Bag” – what do you keep in it? Join the conversation on our FB page and share with us how you prepare for emergencies.
Our friends at DFES would like to remind everyone about the importance of having a completed “Bushfire Plan” so that you are making important planning decisions when you have the time and aren’t under stress or pressure. Preparing and remembering your Diabetes Emergency Kit should be part of your Bushfire Plan.
Go to www.dfes.wa.gov.au/firechat for an online program to help you make a plan with your loved ones, plus find a wealth of useful information about bushfires and how to stay safe this summer.
Download the NDSS ” Managing your diabetes in an emergency” flyer here.