Once again California has begun our yearly fire season.  Combine that with power shut offs, heat waves and the ongoing pandemic, and many people across the state- including those in the bleeding disorders community- may find themselves faced with a disaster emergency.  What can people in our community do to prepare for a possible disaster in their backyard?

Will I be ready in case of a disaster emergency?
According to Listos CA, many people know it is important to prepare for emergencies, but it seems too scary, time consuming or expensive to get prepared.  Do you ever feel the need to prepare for emergencies when you see news of a fire or flood on TV but don’t take any steps towards this goal because it seems too intimidating?  Well, there are five simple steps you can take to be ready in case of fire, flood, earthquake, or other emergency.

Step 1 – Sign up for emergency alerts in your local area.  Go to http://calalerts.org/signup.html to find your county and sign up for their wireless alerts system.  You can also check with your local city to sign up for their emergency alerts.

Step 2 – Make a plan to protect yourself and your loved ones in case of emergency.  

Step 3 – Pack a “Go Bag” that you can bring with you during an evacuation.  This should include a list of the medication and ancillary supplies you will need to pack in a hurry.

Step 4 – Build a “Stay Box” with supplies you will need if you have to shelter in place.

Step 5 – Help friends and neighbors get ready.

You can find a helpful guide with detailed information on these five steps at Listos California’s Disaster Ready Guide

In addition, the Hemophilia Federation of America has a helpful Be Prepared Toolkit with downloadable resources on their website that is tailored to the needs of individuals and families dealing with a bleeding disorder.

How can I take care of my bleeding disorder during an emergency?
In case of a disaster emergency, patients in California may be able to get a medication refill early or a refill without a prescription. You may receive a one-time, early refill to get you through the emergency.  According to law, if your doctor is unavailable to authorize your prescription refill, the pharmacist may use their judgement to fill the prescription when interruption in your medication will affect your ongoing care and have an adverse effect on your well-being; This is the case for many patients.

If you are evacuated, you can find an interactive, searchable map of nearby open pharmacies at www.RxOpen.org.  You can also print out a wallet-sized card listing all of your medications with the latest dosage and instructions by going to Healthcare Ready’s Rx on the Run.  They have additional disaster preparedness information on their Resource page.

As those with a bleeding disorder know, blood factor is only available via specific pharmacy providers and not generally available through regular pharmacies. Be sure you keep your pharmacy contact information in your wallet and/or “Go Bag” in case you don’t have access to electronic records or information (don’t depend on information stored on a phone or computer which requires power). In addition, consult with your physician regarding the proper number of emergency doses to have on hand. For more information, please see MASAC’s guidelines regarding home factor supply for emergency preparedness and their recent supplemental recommendation regarding home delivery and refill under a state of emergency declaration.

Preparing for a disaster may seem intimidating, but by using the tips and helpful resources above, you can feel more confident that you will be prepared in case of fire, flood, or other emergency to take care of yourself, your family, and your health.