How should I prepare for an emergency if I have diabetes?

Mr. Eliot LeBow, CDE, LCSW
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

It is important to remember to start preparing for an emergency early. In the event you have to evacuate, have at least a week of diabetes supplies, if not more, with you, such as insulin, alcohol pads, syringes, hard candy, test strips, your meter and more. You can never be too prepared. If you need to, have your doctor call a prescription in so you have that full month’s supply of medication. 

Evacuating is stressful and your blood sugars may be lower than normal. You also are exercising and burning carbs because of the stress itself and everything you may be moving around. It’s a lot of physical activity. 

So before moving all of your valuables to your car, have a snack. Keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar levels and check them more often.

Have your testing supplies handy as well as your reaction supplies. What it all comes down to is that your most valuable possession is not your grandfather’s watch or childhood picture album but your diabetes supplies. Keep them close and ready to grab in case you have to leave in a hurry.

In the end, you have to be extra careful during these times and remember to remain calm and take care of yourself.

Everyone is now advised to have a plan in place in the case of an emergency, and people with diabetes must consider proper diabetes care when they make emergency plans.

Consider storing three days worth of diabetes supplies, which, depending on how you take care of your diabetes, could include oral medication, insulin, insulin delivery supplies, lancets, extra batteries for your meter and/or pump, and a quick-acting source of glucose. You may also want to have an extra glucagon emergency kit.

All these items should be kept in an easy-to-identify container, and stored in a location that is easy to get to in an emergency.

Your emergency supply kit should also contain a list of emergency contacts and, if you are a parent of a child in school or daycare, physician's orders that may be on file with your child's school or day care provider. As always, it is a good idea to wear medical identification that will enable colleagues, school staff members, or emergency medical personnel to identify and address your medical needs.

If you are a parent of a child with diabetes, it is important that your child's school has clearly identified the school staff members who will assist your child in the event of an emergency evacuation.

For those who are away from home, consider informing your colleagues, friends, and family members about your diabetes and where your emergency supply kit is kept.

Taking a few minutes right now to gather supplies and inform those around you about your diabetes, may make a world of difference in maintaining blood glucose control and staying healthy under stressful circumstances.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.