Each year Australia experiences at least four major natural disasters including storms, cyclones, floods and bushfires, and the frequency and severity of disasters is expected to increase in the coming years. The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Council (AFAC) estimate that less than 20 per cent of Australians in at-risk locations have a written emergency plan.
For people living with diabetes managing their condition through a natural disaster or emergency can be uniquely challenging. Added stress, physical exertion and a lack of food and medical supplies can all cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate dangerously: all the more reason for people with diabetes to have a written emergency plan in place, and emergency supplies at hand – before disaster strikes.
Being able to manage diabetes during and after an emergency starts with making a written diabetes emergency plan that lists details of medication, medical history, and important contacts. Secondly, a diabetes emergency kit should be kept in a safe place in the home and updated every three months. A good kit should be a portable, insulated bag that contains medical and other important supplies, food and water for at least 14 days, and a copy of the diabetes emergency plan.
A National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) resource has been developed to help people living with diabetes make a plan to keep managing their condition successfully during and after an emergency. The My Diabetes Emergency Plan has space to write important contact numbers and current medication schedule, and has a checklist for putting together a personal Diabetes Emergency Kit for managing diabetes if there is no food, clean water or medication available.