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Be prepared

Talk with patients about storing prescription medications during emergencies and environmental disasters

Medications that require refrigeration should be kept cold during a power outage. In the event of a power outage:

  • A closed refrigerator will maintain a cool temperature for 2-3 hours.
  • To prepare for longer periods without power, remove the refrigerated medications from the refrigerator as soon as possible.
  • Place medications into an ice chest or small cooler packed with ice, cooling bricks or cold packs.
  • Use a thermometer to monitor medication temperatures to ensure they’re safe to use.
  • Avoid freezing the medication by making sure it does not directly touch the ice.
  • When the power is out for a day or more, throw away any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise.
  • If a life depends on the refrigerated drug, but the medications have been at room temperature, use them only until a new supply is available.
  • Replace all refrigerated drugs as soon as possible.

 

Additional resources
Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
FEMA
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)