Emergency Preparation and Mental Illness

It is my hope that the advice in this column never has to be used for more than a day or two of inconvenience like in case of a blizzard or a power outage. This post is going to be about being prepared for emergencies with a mental illness or disability. I probably should have posted this entry before the last blizzard hit the East Coast.  But with a blizzard going to hit my part of the US coming, I think this is still relevant.  Being prepared for possible emergencies can be overwhelming for some people. But as we have seen from previous emergencies, particularly natural disasters over the last several years, it is vital to be able to take care of yourself for a few days if necessary.  It is also important to be aware of your surroundings.  What follows is a short, though not definitive, list of things to have in case of emergencies if outside help can’t get to you for a few days.

A supply of non perishable food for several days as well as some bottled drinking water.  It isn’t necessary to go overboard and be buying things through the internet (which can usually be found locally and is usually overpriced).  But something as simple as beans and rice, canned foods like canned pasta and chili, or anything that just needs water.  Foods like beef jerky that don’t require refrigeration are also handy.  Essentially anything that doesn’t need refrigeration and requires little to no preparation are good.  As far as bottled water goes, be sure to store it no longer than one year because the water tends to pick up a plastic like flavor to it.

Flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, extra blankets are always good things to have.  So is cash on hand.  This is not money to be spent except for emergencies.  Also might come in handy in case there are economic problems and banks won’t allow more than a small amount to be withdrawn.  It has happened in countries like Greece.

A first aid kit.  This can be picked up at any pharmacy or general store.  Hopefully you will never need it.  But you’ll be glad if you have one and you get hurt or sick with no immediate access to medical treatment.  Have one for your car and one for your house.

Especially important for people who have to take regular prescriptions (like myself), have at least one week of emergency supplies of all your prescription meds.  This does not mean skipping doses until you have your back up.  This means simply asking your doctor for a few samples.  Be upfront with your doctor and they will be glad to help you out.  But be sure to rotate these meds probably once a year.  And be sure to update your emergency supply in case your meds get changed.  Be sure to have a list of your medications and doses in your purse or wallet in case you have to go to the hospital and are unresponsive.

This is just a small generic list of things to have in case of an emergency that could leave you house bound and on your own for a couple days.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.  I’m not a wilderness survival expert or hardcore prepper, but I do believe it’s a good idea to always have emergency supplies and plans as a backup in case of natural disasters, fires, or just any kind of emergency that comes up.




4 thoughts on “Emergency Preparation and Mental Illness

  1. It’s much better to be prepared than to be scrambling around at the last minute. Keep a few necessities in a box or backpack in the closet and a winter survival kit in the car. Even though no one plans to be stranded, be without electricity, be caught in a tornado or earthquake, or running from a fire, it happens to people daily. Plan ahead!

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