storm warning

From severe weather to wildfires to volcanoes, we all may be in the path of a nature-related emergency someday. Thinking and planning ahead can minimize harm and even save lives. If you or a loved one lives with epilepsy or any chronic health condition, here are some things to think about, beyond food and shelter, to help you stay safe.

Preparing for Emergencies

  • If a storm is coming and you are running out of medicine, don’t wait. Contact your pharmacy or 211 for help.
  • If you usually use mail order pharmacy, your refill may be delayed. Call the mail order pharmacy now. If it won’t come in time, ask your doctor or nurse to call a prescription into a local pharmacy that is open.
  • Keep your seizure action plan, a list of your medications, important documents, and, if possible, a supply of medication with you at all times in a water tight bag or container.
  • Keep a phone and any electronic devices charged that you may need for medication reminders and contact with family and emergency response.
  • Now is the time to check with your local emergency preparedness authorities or shelters about their policies for service animals.
  • Check in with family or friends on a regular basis. If you are alone, consider staying with someone temporarily or use a shelter.

The Aftermath

  • In the aftermath of a storm if you need medication, contact the American Red Cross (1-800-RED-CROSS) or go to your local emergency department.
  • If seizures change or are worsening, talk to your health care team. They may recommend a rescue medicine to help during this critical time to prevent a trip to an emergency room. Or they may want you seen at an emergency room in certain situations.

More Resources

  • RxOpen.org helps people find nearby pharmacies that are open in areas impacted by disaster. While this service does not provide medication, it can help you find a pharmacy that is open, so you can have your prescription transferred there to be filled.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Natural Disasters and Severe Weather website has guides for planning ahead; disaster resources; help for specific groups like people with chronic health conditions, older adults, parents, and evacuees; and much more.
  • CDC also offers resources for Emergency Health Professionals.
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov website has helpful information on preparing in the days and hours before a hurricane.
  • The American Red Cross’ Get Help website has information on finding a shelter and help after a disaster.

We are Here for You

The Epilepsy Foundation and our nationwide network of local organizations are here to help before and after an emergency. Information specialists working our 24/7 Helpline keep in touch with local Epilepsy Foundations and update our database as new resources are identified and created. Call 1-800-322-1000 (en Español 1-866-748-8008) for up-to-date information on services available near you.

Authored By: 
Judy Gretsch
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Authored Date: 
09/2018
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven MD
on: 
Tuesday, September 11, 2018