When you get your prescription medications, you typically get a month’s supply. This is great for everyday life, but what happens if you were in an emergency? Would you be prepared to go a day or two without your medications? How would you replace them, especially when insurance may not cover a refill and your wallet is lost in the fire? What should you do?
The trick is to be prepared. First of all, talk with your doctor and explain that you want to have 7 to 14 days of extra medication prescribed. If you are able to grab your pills before having to leave your home, you’ll at least have enough medication to last until things settle down. It’s not a good idea to designate pills for an emergency, as they can expire and lose effectiveness, but it is a good idea to keep your medications somewhere safe but easily accessible and in one location so everyone knows where to find them. In the event of an emergency, you can grab your medications quickly.
Also, it is a good idea to keep a digital copy or a print copy of any prescription somewhere you’ll be able to have it for later. Pharmacies can’t refill prescriptions that are photocopied, but they can use the information on the prescription to help expedite your refills.
Another good idea is to keep your emergency kit and supplies (such as a change of clothes, a CD/DVD/flash drive with photos of your belongings, first aid supplies, etc.) near your prescription medications and include a note in your emergency kit to grab your medications. In an extreme fire, you may not have enough time, but in the event of a flood or other disaster, you will likely be able to double-check your emergency supplies. A well-placed note can do wonders.
There is a database called ICERX.org that is a new idea in containing prescription information for the unlikely, but possible, event of an emergency evacuation. As of this writing, however, there is no indication that individual patients, pharmacies, or doctor’s offices can directly populate this information.
The best defense against getting caught without medications after a fire or flood is to prepare ahead of time. It may seem like a little too much precaution now, but you’ll be glad you did.
Henry Duckstein Jr.