Disaster Preparedness

How to stay safe BEFORE disaster strikes…especially if you have inflammation issues and/or food allergies/intolerances.

Hello everyone!

I hope that this post finds you well. In light of Hurricane Sandy, I thought it might be a good idea to make a post reminding you to check your disaster plan. Things can get a little tricky when you can’t rely on emergency rations or need extra medicine due to inflammation issues and/or food allergies.

Remember that the most important thing to do in an emergency is to stay calm. Panicking will make your situation and symptoms worse.

Step 1 – Know Your Disaster Zone
What kind of natural disasters is your area most prone to experiencing? Hurricanes? Tornados? Tsunami? Earthquakes? Fires? Extreme Temperatures? One or more of the above?

Each one of these occurrences requires different plans and resources, so make sure that you know what to do when it hits. (And don’t forget to check any place you travel to!)

Also, knowing your zone can help you decide on insurance plans for your residence. Often times, certain disasters are not covered by your base package, so do your research. For example, if you live somewhere prone to floods, make sure that your insurance will cover your residence and valuable items.

Step 2 – Plan For Safety
After you know your zone, make a plan with your family/friends/roommates about what you should do and where you should meet. For example, if you are asked by firefighters to leave your residence because of a nearby fire, where will you go? What will you take with you?

Be sure to go over an evacuation and safety plan with all family members – and don’t forget about your pets. Doing this before an emergency makes it easier to cope should it happen.

Here’s FEMA’s guide on natural disasters.

Also, when a firefighter or police officer tells you to evacuate – take it seriously and do so immediately! Not only are you putting yourself and your loved ones at risk, you’re also making it harder for rescuers to do their job.

Step 3 – Assemble and/or Check Your Kits
Okay, so this is where things get tricky. Typically, you want to have a kit like this or this one.

The problem is that most of us with inflammation issues must stay on a restricted diet. When emergencies happen, however, accommodations (even for severe allergies) are hard to come by.

It is up to YOU to make sure that the food, medications, and bandages available in your preparedness kit are safe for you to consume or come into contact.

Where to start? I packed my kit with gluten-free protein bars, raw almonds, dried fruit, and quinoa. What you pack will vary depending on your inflammation issues and allergies/intolerances, but there are things to keep in mind:

    1) Food should be non-perishable.
    2) Food should be stored in airtight/watertight containers to eliminate contamination issues.
    3) Your kit should be as lightweight as possible.
    4) Your kit needs the proper tools to open said food (ex., a can opener if you are packing canned goods).

Additionally, have a back-up supply of containers filled with your medicine and a list of your medical issues.

Also, take note of when food and medicine will expire. You may have a disaster and first aid kit already, but when was the last time you checked its contents?

Sites for more help:
1) Gluten-Free
2) Gluten-Free 2
3) Peanut/Dairy-Free

I know this list is rather limited, so please let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions for safe rations.

Step 4 – Practice Your Plan
Make sure that you and your family/friends/roommates go over a disaster plan periodically so that everyone knows what to do. Like everything else in life, practice makes perfect! 🙂

Remember that the idea is to be safe, not paranoid. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or scared when disaster strikes, so it’s important to have a plan ahead of time. But it’s especially important for people like us to make modifications to our emergency plans now.

Good luck, and stay safe!

Hilary

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About tmidigestion

Living life with my inflammation avatar, "Pesky." Current mantra: I may have TMI, but it does not have me.
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