Emergency Preparedness for Dialysis Patients


Emergency Preparedness: What to do during a Power Outage

We sometimes experience power outages and road closings in northern Michigan, due to heavy snowfall or storms. If a weather emergency prevents you from receiving dialysis, there are steps you can take to prepare and lessen the impact of missing a dialysis session.

If you are at home and uninjured, you should stay home unless instructed by emergency personnel. Watch television or listen to the radio for any news about your area. For weather related emergencies, you may have some time before the worst hits. Be aware of any weather watches in your area.

If you are on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), continue to do your exchanges. PD patients who depend on a cycler can do manual exchanges. If power is unavailable and you do not know how to do a manual exchange, you should start the 3-day emergency diet. People on hemodialysis should start the 3-day diet immediately.

Phone service may be interrupted or you may be instructed to leave the phone lines open for emergency calls. Once phone service becomes available, contact your dialysis center. You should also have your current address and phone number on file at the center so they can contact you and arrange a dialysis session as soon as possible.

Have a Basic Emergency Kit in Your Home

A basic home emergency kit should contain enough water and food for each person for at least three days, paper and plastic ware, a manual can and bottle opener, first aid supplies, a flashlight and a battery-powered radio. This kit should be stored in one place such as a lidded plastic trash can or duffle bag, and should be easily accessible.

Kidney patients on dialysis should add several items to their emergency kit that will help meet their needs if an emergency happens. The kit should include the following:

  • Emergency phone numbers for your doctors and dialysis centers, as well as another nearby dialysis center
  • At least three day’s worth of any medicines you are taking, as well as a list of medicines and the dosage amount
  • If you have diabetes, a week’s worth of supplies (syringes, insulin, alcohol wipes, glucose monitoring strips)
  • Food for the 3-day emergency diet and a copy of the diet

Place these items in a container or bag that can be carried easily if you need to be evacuated or moved from your home. Rotate the stock of your emergency kit to make sure supplies are not past their expiration dates.

For people who rely on an automated peritoneal dialysis (APD) machine, they can perform manual exchanges until power is restored.