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Diabetes disaster kit: what to pack in an emergency

How will you manage your diabetes if a disaster hits? Have you ever thought of that? This diabetes disaster kit is helpful if you have to deal with a major storm, extended loss of electricity or possible evacuation from your home .

What to do in an emergency

Building a “diabetes disaster kit” now can save a lot of time and worry if a disaster strikes.

Your diabetes kit can be stored in an easy-to-carry waterproof bag or container to hold the documents, information, and supplies that you will want to have with you. It’s a good idea to pack this kit now and leave it in a cupboard. Hopefully you won’t need it any time soon!

Important information for your diabetes disaster kit:

Write or print out the following information, and laminate it (so it doesn’t get water damaged).

  • Name, surname, date of birth
  • Type of diabetes you have
  • Other medical conditions, allergies, and previous surgeries
  • Current medications, doses, and time you take them
  • Your next of kin’s contact number
  • Your doctor’s number
  • Your medical aid details, if you’re on medical aid

Diabetes supplies to pack:

  • Glucometer (blood testing meter), testing strips and lancets.
  • Extra batteries!
  • Extra supplies for insulin pump or CGM – these may need to be added at the last minute if you don’t have extra supplies (most of us don’t!)
  • Spare needles for your insulin injections
  • Empty plastic bottle or sharps container to safely carry syringes, needles and lancets

Add at the last minute:

  • Insulin or tablets
  • Cooler and reusable cold packs – make sure you always have a cold pack in the freezer in case you need it.
  • Remember: Do NOT use dry ice and do not freeze your insulin

Food supplies to pack

It’s a good idea to pack some non-perishable foods that are ready to go, for example:

  • Super Cs/sugar to treat low blood glucose
  • Nuts and dried fruits
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Bottled water
  • Granola/energy bars
  • Cup of soup

Other optional supplies you can pack:

  • Pen/pencil and notepad to record blood sugar, other test results and any new signs/symptoms
  • First aid supplies like bandages, cotton swabs, and antibiotic ointments or creams
  • Gloves and hand sanitizer
  • Power bank for charging your phone
  • A torch and batteries

Diabetes disaster kit checklist

Have you got:

  1. All your information on a laminated card?
  2. All your diabetes supplies – including the ones you need to grab at the last minute?
  3. Food supplies?
  4. Optional supplies?

Do you think we should add anything else to this list? There’s more information here: Patient preparedness plan.

What to read next?

What do we know about COVID-19 and diabetes? We get the most important facts from Prof. Joel Dave, South African endocrinologist and diabetes expert.

SMART goals: what they are and why you need them.

The Type 1 diabetes toolkit: what you need to carry at all times

Photos by Chris Gallagher, Fati Mohebbi on Unsplash

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.