Any time of the year, the power in your home can go out due to wild weather. Lightning strikes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and heavy ice/snow cause considerable damage and can leave you without electricity for hours, or even days! If you are someone who relies on oxygen therapy to aid in breathing, you need to be prepared for the type of weather events that leave you without electricity to operate your concentrator. There are two major steps you need to take to make sure you are prepared during a power outage.
Call your power company
Start by calling your power company and register with them so they know you are an oxygen patient who requires a constant electricity to keep your oxygen concentrator running so you can breathe properly. The power company will then be able to treat your area as a priority so you will not be without electricity long. Also make sure you know how the power company handles these responses. Ask them how much of a priority oxygen dependent patients are in a power outage, and especially in your area. See if they will provide a generator if the outage is over a certain number of hours. Know how they will respond when the outage occurs so you can better prepare to fend for yourself if it happens.
Contact your DME supplier
The next most important thing you need to do is to call your oxygen provider. Keep in mind that your provider is required to supply your oxygen when you need it, even in a weather emergency. Know how your location affects the delivery in either snow or down trees and power lines. Start by asking how much oxygen (in tank form) they think you will need in an outage until they can get to you with more. Order these extra tanks and keep them somewhere for emergency use. Also have the delivery person label the tanks with how much time of continuous oxygen flow on each tank. Do you receive liquid oxygen? If so, your provider can provide an extra reservoir for use when there is no power. Please remember, if you are unable to do it on your own, you will need to train a friend or family member. Please do this before an emergency occurs, so you and your family are prepared.
Now that you have a plan for your oxygen therapy, use should the power outage occur, make sure you also remember the basics. Keep extra blankets, non-perishable food items, and spare batteries for flashlights and battery powered radio. Don’t forget that candles pose a serious threat to homes where oxygen is in use! If you have any other questions about how to prepare for when the power goes out and with what cost this preparation comes, feel free to call the knowledgeable patient care representatives at Aeroflow Healthcare, 888-345-1780. We are here to help!