Medicines and Finances: How to prepare for an emergency

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Most of the focus during emergency planning is on the basics—food, water, and shelter—but for some people, medication is a requirement for survival.

“It's going to take up to 96 hours for federal resources to come up to Alaska,” says Heidi Hedberg, Chief of Community and Rural Health Systems for the State of Alaska. “Which is why it's vitally important that Alaskans are prepared with their medications, their food, their water, heating source, especially in the winter time.”

As with other parts of your emergency kit, you should have at least a week of medications on hand. Stocking up on over-the-counter medications is fairly easy, but prescriptions are a different story.

To make sure you always have your medications on hand, Hedberg recommends refilling prescriptions when you have three to seven days left.

“Look at those prescription medications and if they're maintenance medications for those chronic meds, hypertension, thyroid, diabetes, that you actually have an extra week on hand,” says Hedberg. “What we recommend is you talk to your pharmacist, talk to your provider and say ‘how much should I have?' ”

Even if you feel well prepared for an emergency, it might take a while for the world to return to normal. Credit and debit cards might not be an option.

“In a big event, communications are going to be down,” says Mike O’Hare, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region X. “The ATMs and banks aren't going to be available so have some cash to do some cash transactions as you need them.”

Another part of your emergency kit should be important papers such as insurance policies and critical phone numbers.

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