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Around the world, we have seen an increase in the frequency of natural disasters in the last few years. From hurricanes and tornadoes to flooding and earthquakes to the increase in widespread wildfires, each of these emergency situations comes with the risk of extended power outages and potential displacement. For most people, power outages are a mere inconvenience. However, for people who are dependent on supplemental oxygen, power outages and other emergency situations can be life-threatening. In order to avoid running out of oxygen, supplemental oxygen users must plan ahead and prepare for emergency situations. For people who rely on medical oxygen, avoiding treatment disruption during a disaster must be a top priority.
Perhaps because of the destruction that recent natural disasters have left in their aftermath, a recent National Household Survey released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) survey estimates that approximately 57% of the American public have taken three or more basic actions to prepare for an emergency and 94% have taken at least one action to prepare. Generally speaking, people living in areas with a higher risk of certain disasters are better prepared. If you require oxygen therapy, your risk is automatically higher, so it is smart to prepare now.
FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security are encouraging families across the country to create a disaster preparedness plan. If you or someone you love requires oxygen therapy, disaster preparedness is vital. You should have an emergency supply of oxygen on hand, as well as a plan to access additional oxygen if and when you need it. To help you begin your plan today, you can visit www.Ready.gov for tips on making your emergency plan. To get you started, consider the following tips:
Making a plan for emergencies and natural disasters can save your life, but for people who require medical oxygen, making an emergency plan is essential. For more information on how to create an emergency preparedness plan, visit the American Red Cross or Ready.gov. You can get help creating your emergency plan, gathering necessary supplies and more.
 Kobayashi, M. Hanagama, S. Yamanda, M. Yanai. Home oxygen therapy during natural disasters: lessons from the great East Japan earthquake. European Respiratory Journal Apr 2012, 39 (4) 1047-1048; DOI: 10.1183/09031936.00149111.
 FEMA.gov.Sixty Percent of Americans Not Practicing for Disaster: FEMA urges everyone to prepare by participating in National PrepareAthon! Day on April 30. Released April 28, 2015.
 Kailes, June Isaacson. Emergency Safety Tips for People Who Use Electricity and Battery-Dependent Devices. 2006. Published and distributed by the Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center and June Isaacson Kailes, Disability Policy Consultant.