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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
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)