By Mike Guffey, DPC Board Member

It is critically important for dialysis patients to be prepared for weather emergencies, especially as we head into the hurricane and winter weather seasons. Patients should have an emergency checklist and a “go” kit with emergency supplies. is a good go-to site with checklists and contact cards to help your family be prepared. You should gather the information well in advance of any incidents, but it is helpful to review them at the start of each severe weather season.

Maintain the kit in a sturdy plastic container and rotate supplies on a regular basis.

Do not wait until the emergency occurs as some items may not be easily acquired or gathered in those situations. Additionally, if you have children, it is important to rehearse your plans so they remember what they need to do in the excitement, especially if they get separated.

For dialysis patients, the kit should include:

  • 3-day supply of water
  • 3-day supply of shelf-sustainable renal diet-friendly foods and manual can opener
  • Disposable utensils and plates/bowls
  • Eyeglasses and face masks
  • Ample supply of medications, including OTC and medicines and diabetic supplies (should be added last minute)
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight/lantern and battery-powered/hand-cranked radio
  • Copies of important family documents, including insurance information and numbers below.
  • Paper and pen/pencil
  • Cell phone charger

Phone numbers to have at hand:

  • Dialysis provider (home clinic and national emergency numbers)
  • Nephrologist and other primary doctors
  • Pharmacy (and list of current medications, including dosage and frequency).
  • Local contact number(s)
  • Key distant family contact

Some other key items to think about:

  • If possible, have emergency cash or traveler’s checks on hand, as merchants may have lost power and be unable to accept cards.
  • If evacuating your residence, turn off applicable utilities such as water and gas at the main feed. Turning off gas and water, in particular, will prevent water or gas leaks inside.
  • If you are relocating, contact your dialysis unit to let them know and make alternative arrangements, as needed.
  • Try to stay calm and remain composed. Your attitude can affect those around you, especially children.