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Before the Lights Go Out, Make a Plan to Power Your Medical Devices

Date: 05/26/21

Loss of electrical power during a storm is an inconvenience for everyone. But if you rely on a medical device that runs on electricity, a power outage could become a life or death situation.

Some medical devices that run on electricity are:

  • Breathing machines (like ventilators, BiPAPs and CPAPs)
  • Oxygen machines
  • Home dialysis equipment
  • Power wheelchairs and scooters
  • Electric beds
  • Lift chairs
  • Suction pumps for people who can’t swallow well
  • Feeding tubes
  • IV infusion pumps
  • Cardiac pumps

Power outages can happen any time there is severe weather, not just during hurricane season. If you or someone in your family needs electricity for a medical device, here are some things you can do before an outage happens.

  • Contact the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in your parish. Tell them you rely on electricity for health-related needs. You can find your parish’s contact information at http://gohsep.la.gov/about/parishpa. They will put your name on a list so you can be assisted quickly during an outage.
  • Keep back-up power sources on hand. If your device can also run on batteries, be sure to keep some in a place you can easily find them. Batteries can expire. Replace them from time to time. If possible, have a battery backup device. If you have a generator, make sure you know how to use it safely. Keep a full gas can just for your generator.
  • Watch the weather. For the latest weather updates, look to your local news stations. Follow the Louisiana Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Know where you can go. Create a personal disaster game plan. Ask family members or friends ahead of time if you can stay with them during a power outage. When severe weather is coming, listen to the advice of local officials. If you must evacuate, try to find an emergency shelter that is prepared to help people with special health needs.

Your health and safety are important to us. If you need help preparing for your medical needs, please call our Care Management team at 1-866-595-8133, extension 69016, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.