Hurricane Sandy


Just sitting here panicking about the dire predictions for power outages, etc in NYC.  My mind is zooming through all possible scenarios (no fridge for insulin etc, no running water, no lights, need to leave home very quickly, etc.)  How do you keep calm knowing the huge responsibility you have to your child with T1 in times of crisis?  I would be anxious in any case, but am working myself up in a tizzy with thoughts of my son and his many needs.


My husband works in weather research at UW-Madison.  I read your email to him and he said, "Oh my Gosh, if I were them I'd leave.  I'd find somewhere else to ride out this week where you know your can keep your kid safe - and every one else in the family too."  We agree, having to deal with all the issues T1D brings on top of the regular precautions one needs for a storm like this ... it's overwhelming.    I hope it all goes as well as it can.   But please, please, everyone take the warnings seriously - get all your prescriptions refilled at the very least, if you can't leave the area.

We did 6 days without power this past June after storms wiped out power to much of Virginia.  As temps those days were around 100, after three nights of trying to sweat it out at home, we checked into a hotel.   We were fortunate some hotels had power.  We had no way of being prepared for that storm (other than the general things), but with this hurricane there are things you can do to prepare.

Filling prescriptions might actually be a bad thing, as we know from trying to keep months of insulin cold with no electricity and no ice in town.  And no gas to drive out of town.  But do make sure you have what you need and then some.

What’s tricky with this hurricane is how far to drive with the guarantee you’ll have electricity.  We are hours inland, yet we are in a “take action” area to prepare for downed lines due to hurricane winds, followed by potential for heavy snow (we’re just east of the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia).  We saw power trucks from Alabama in our area today.

Do all the things your emergency management says to do, plus have all the diabetic supplies easy to locate (in the dark) and ready to evacuate.  Part of doing what your emergency managements services says to is having water, having flashlights.  Do you have links to your emergency management services?  Here’s a link to get you started.

Preparation is the key.  I do hope you’ve done some preparation if you’re in NYC.  Are you in the evacuation zone?  Should you go ahead and leave?

Deal with your panicky feelings by doing all the prep work you need to do or getting out of dodge.


Store your diabetes supplies together so you can quickly grab them in an emergency.  Take as much insulin, test strips, pump supplies, syringes as you can carry.  Also take back up batteries for the pump.

I live in Oklahoma and have evacuated quickly dozens of times for tornadoes.  This year the entire small town where I live had to evacuate for wildfires.  It took less than 10 minutes to grab my diabetes stuff, family pictures, a change of clothes for everyone, and a few toys for my son.  

We were evacuated for about 4 days and I didn't refrigerate the insulin.  It's still perfectly effective and I've had no problems with it.  

Frankly I've used insulin for 35 years and though I usually refirgerate it, the few times I haven't the insulin has been fine.  That includes a backpacking trip where I hauled multiple back up bottles in the heat for weeks, then used it later with no problems.  

Hope you're doing okay and didn't have any trouble.  

Jennagrant, I'm so curious.  We were told to refrigerate the stock of insulin, but not the current one in use.  So, when I receive a three-month supply from the mail order pharmacy, it all goes in the frig.  My understanding was that it degrades sooner, so three months out of the frig it might not be as effective.  So I was talking about refrigerating the stock of insulin.  Your experience is different?

It's definitely best to refrigerate all insulin except the bottle you're currently using.  I do that with mine.  

BUT I've had times when refigeration wasn't possible for periods of time.  I've used a lot of insulin and have had several times over the years when my insulin wasn't refrigerated (as a camp counselor, on extended trips, when evacuated for emergencies) and never noticed any diminished effect with the bottles that should have been compromised.  

Obviously refrigeration is best, but I wouldn't throw a bottle away just because it wasn't refrigerated.  

If anyone has an experience with their insulin going bad, I hope they'll share it.  Just because I haven't experienced it doesn't mean it's not possible.

Guess I'd also like to see the research showing how non-refigeration effects insulin.  At what temp does the insulin start to degrade and what percentage of potency is lost?  If anyone has info, please share.

I do hope that you made it through Sandy without any issues.  We too were in the affected areas, we did 13 days with no power, just got it back this past weekend.  My 4 year old daughter has T1 and thankfully we did have a generator and as soon as the power went out we plugged in the fridge.  

I do share the anxiousness though, the only bag i had ready to go was a big cooler that had syringes, testing supplies, juice packs for emergcy and the insulin was in the fridge in its own small cooler pack at the ready to grab , throw in the big bag and go.  Forget clothes, shoes, and anything else.