12 Tips for Family Emergencies
Medically reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
When it comes to your health and the health of your family, it is essential
to be ready for the unexpected. Emergencies can happen anytime or anywhere. The
following 10 tips can help you be better prepared.
- Keep a first aid kit in
your home and car.
- If you or a family member has a chronic or life-threatening condition, wear
an identification bracelet with detailed medical information about the
- Keep at least a day's supply of medicine with you when out and about, in
case you are unable to get home for an extended period of time.
- If you receive medication through a mail order pharmacy, have a back-up
local pharmacy to use if medicine shipments are delayed or quick availability
is affected. You may need to order medicines at least 30 days in advance to
allow for mail delays.
- Keep emergency telephone numbers (doctor, pharmacy, poison control center,
emergency/rescue personnel) on each phone in your house as well as on your
- Check your first aid kits and
medicine cabinet each year to dispose of expired medicines and re-stock if
needed. "Spring clean" your medicine cabinet and check your kits.
- Always read the medicine label. Follow the label directions on how and when
(or when not) to take medicines. Remember to keep all medicines out of the
sight and reach of children
- Make sure to take the prescription medicines you need and to pack any
common nonprescription medicines you may use, especially when travelling
overseas. The availability or formulation of many familiar medicines may
differ by country.
- Keep medicines with you in their original containers. Do not pack them in
checked luggage that could be lost or exposed to extreme temperatures. Store
medicines in a cool, dry location. Heat and humidity can alter the potency of
- Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) and
dietary supplements. Have health insurance and other important medical
information with you at all times. Do not keep this information in checked
- Take a travel medicine kit for emergencies.
- Be prepared for a
medical emergency when traveling within your country, or abroad.
Some of the above information was provided, in part, with the kind permission of the Council on
Family Health (www.cfhc.org
)Last Editorial Review: 12/22/2008