Use This “Teachable Moment”

Disaster preparedness

Knowing that thousands of our neighbors are still struggling (and will be, for days or weeks) with power loss, flood cleanup, lost wages, inability to get from one place to another, there is one pro-active response we can take: Check our own crisis plans—especially if you live with or care for people who have cancer.

 The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology have a free wallet card for patients, in English or Spanish. It has space for critical information in case the patient must be seen by a doctor unfamiliar with their care, as well as a 1-800-4-CANCER number to get disaster advice.

 There are other key steps you can take to be prepared for any emergency.

Ways to prepare ahead of time:

  • Make a plan for friends, family, neighbors for communications and immediate help.
  • Carry your medical provider’s contact information and other vital numbers with you at all times on a written card; don’t depend on cell-phone-stored numbers because your cell phone might not work.
  • Know your exact diagnosis, cancer stage, and all medications you take. If you are receiving chemotherapy or radiation, know where you are in your treatment cycle.
  • Make a kit with items you might need—dressings, thermometer, meds, copy of your insurance card—stored in a Ziploc bag.

 Other resources:

FEMA  provides a large variety of downloadable materials—lists, tips, storm kit content suggestions—for all kinds of situations. Pass them out at Thanksgiving to help your family prepare!

 SOURCE: NCI “Help for Individuals Affected by Catastrophic Events 

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