Monday, June 13, 2011

Emergency Kits and Food Allergies

by Kelley Lindberg

It’s been a bad year for natural disasters. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, tornadoes, wildfires, flooding… and we’re just barely starting hurricane season.

Until we’ve lived through one, it’s hard to imagine what we’d do in a natural disaster. But it’s safe to say that thinking calmly and rationally might not be our first reaction – at least for most of us! (Okay, at least for me.) What if you only had a few minutes to throw things into a suitcase and escape? What if you don’t even have that much time?

Every time I see a news report talking about people being evacuated to a shelter, I worry about the people arriving who have food allergies. I doubt the shelters are equipped to handle people with food allergies – especially multiple food allergies. Perhaps they are – maybe they have meals set aside for people allergic to gluten, milk, eggs, and nuts, for example. But more likely, they’re making do with whatever they have on hand, and the cross-contamination alone must be a constant threat.

That’s why experts say it’s important to prepare an emergency evacuation kit before there’s a natural disaster, so that you don’t forget something vital, like medications, phone numbers, safe food, and cash.

There are lots of websites you can visit to find recommendations on how to pack an emergency kit, such as:
But one thing these sites might not mention is to pack essentials for your food allergic family member. So when you’re assembling an emergency kit, remember to pack:
  • EpiPens (or TwinJect)
  • Antihistamine (Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, etc.)
  • Safe food (Sunbutter, gluten-free crackers, beef jerky, or whatever will sustain you for 3 days)
  • Copy of your medical insurance card
  • Phone numbers of important people, including relatives and doctors
If you’ve got these things with you, at least you’ll have one less thing to worry about. One emergency at a time is enough.


The Scherbel Family said...

What a great reminder! I have enough food for my boys for 1 week. The theory behind the 72 hour kits is that it takes organizations like the Red Cross about 3 days to mobilize. I figure when the Red Cross shows up they aren't going to have much to feed my child either. A little extra food in my kit will give me a little more time to come up with Plan B.

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