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power outages and insulin...choices!

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by dqmomof3, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. dqmomof3

    dqmomof3 Approved members

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    As you may have read, tornadoes were on the warpath through North Carolina yesterday. Our county was hard-hit by wind damage, and two or three confirmed tornado touchdowns have been reported so far. Our house is just fine, but we were without power for 13 hours. I told the kids that under no circumstances were they to open the refrigerator while the power was out. 12 hours into the outage, Jayden says, "Uh, Mom...I have a low reservoir warning. We're going to have to open the refrigerator."

    What to do, what to do? Open the refrigerator and potentially lose our food, or not open it and have her reservoir run out? Obviously not a REAL question...insulin would have to win...but right as we were having the discussion, the power came back on! Saved by Progress Energy :).

    It did make me think, though...what if we had an extended power outage? Should I get a vial of insulin out of the refrigerator when there is a bad storm, just in case? Hadn't ever considered that before.

    Learned another little lesson...I posted a few weeks ago about having to buy a new washer and dryer because fire claimed our old ones. Well, the Samsung washer we chose is wonderful, but if the power goes out, the door locks, and there is no easy way to get the clothes out!! My son had a soccer game today, and his uniform was in the washer! We were able to piece together something else for him to wear...he's the goalkeeper so the clothing rules are different.

    On a sadder note, I delivered a metal detector this morning to one of my sister teachers. Her mother lost her home last night. The mother's wedding rings were on top of the dresser in her bedroom - right before the dresser flew out of the house during the tornado. They are hoping against hope to find them, hence the request for the wedding rings. When I knocked on the teacher's door, her mother actually answered the door. I just hugged her. She is so sad for what she has lost.

    Funny the lessons life teaches sometimes through crisis.
     
  2. virgo39

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    Sorry about all the weather issues you've been having and the terrible losses some are experiencing.

    My mom's refrigerator just stopped working recently and I happened to look up on the FDA website (I think) how long she could rely on food being kept to temperature. I was surprised that the time for the refrigerator was just a few hours -- 4 I think -- but freezer times much longer.

    I think this is the link (USDA actually): http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/keeping_food_safe_during_an_emergency/index.asp
     
  3. sooz

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    In the future would it be possible to put a big bag of ice in the refrigerator? We keep insulin out in Hailey's care kit, with the extra supply stored in the refrigerator. Insulin can be kept out for up to 30 days I believe and room temp insulin stings less going in I am told. Good luck!
     
  4. Bsbllmom

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    We had a power outage once for almost 24 hours. I went to the ice store and bought dry ice for the freezer and fridge. They told me how much to buy and how long it would last. It worked and I didn't lose anything.
     
  5. kimmcannally

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    We keep one of those ice-free bags in our freezer. The type that holds 24 cans and has liquid in the walls of the bag that freeze. I keep J's extra insulin in a box in the fridge, that box will fit into the freezer bag and I could just grab the box and put it in the freezer bag in case of power outage.
     
  6. Flutterby

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    We were without power for 5 days in 08. I had a fridge full of insulin. Luckily for us it was cooler out (winter time).. I took a cooler and took the freezer backs from the freezer put them on the bottom put a towel down and then the insulin in, closed it and put it in the corner of our room with a towel over it, the insulin was fine.. once the ice packs melted we used frozen veggies. In warmer weather I'd do the same thing.

    Don't you leave your current vial of insulin out?
     
  7. dqmomof3

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    Actually, I keep all insulin in the refrigerator, opened or unopened. I know we can leave the opened insulin out...I just never have. I figure, statistically speaking, it's more likely to get knocked off the counter, stepped on, lost, etc. if I leave it out.
     
  8. BrendaK

    BrendaK Neonatal Diabetes Registry

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    The vial that we are using does not stay in the fridge, it stays in my purse. I always take my purse downstairs during a tornado warning. In our basement, I also have all of our diabetes supplies plus lots of glucotabs.

    I also have a stash of emergency diabetes supplies including glucotabs at a friend's house 6 blocks away just in case.

    There is an unopened vial of insulin at school for emergencies as well (in their fridge). Makes me feel better to have supplies we could get to spread out a little.
     
  9. BrendaK

    BrendaK Neonatal Diabetes Registry

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  10. Pauji5

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    I have a pretty large supply of back up insulin. Last summer our power was out for 3 1/2 days. I took the insulin immediately to a friends that has power....we have a generator for the sump pump and would put the refridg. on and off all day, but I didn't trust the insulin to keep fresh that way.
     
  11. Flutterby

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    I bought one of those little cozy things for the insulin just for those reasons, but what I didn't expect is for my cat to love it. I have NO IDEA where its gone. I saw her with it one day, she has the pink cozy in her mouth (just the edge of it, like she had 'caught' it, lol) I took it from her and put it back.. she took it again and now I have no idea where it is.. so, there is a vial of apidra in a cozy around here somewhere, lol.
     
  12. JeremysDad

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    We have tornadoes too but it was July 22nd 2010 that got me thinking about the vulnerability of our insulin. That was the day when Southeast Wisconsin got upwards of 9 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. There were widespread prolonged power outages as well as flooding, as you can imagine. On July 23rd. I went out and bought a backup generator and a transfer switch and wired it up to several essential devices, the furnaces, both refrigerators, sump pumps etc. The problem with losing power is that you do not know when it will be restored and as the hours tick by, you become more and more concerned about the contents of the refrigerator.

    While we have not had to use the generator yet (other then bi-monthly tests) it gives me peace of mind to know that our insulin is safe.
     
  13. dqmomof3

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    Would you believe...we have a generator that was given to us, but DH has never powered it up, so he didn't want to do it for the first time last night. I think that will make it to a higher priority on his list now, though!
     
  14. momandwifeoftype1s

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    Just to give your friend some hope about the wedding rings...A good friend of mine's house burned to the ground a couple years ago. The one thing she wanted to recover was her wedding rings. It really seeemed like a lost cause. Guess what? She found them with a metal detector. Good luck!

    I'm in North Carolina now too, but we missed the brunt of the storms here. When I have enough forewarning, I do grab an extra vial of Novolog and Lantus insulin from the fridge for both Connor and Brian. I bring it with us to our safest location in the house.
     
  15. swimmom

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    Cool purse Brenda!
     
  16. thompson374

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    Power outages haven't crossed my mind, since DS became diagnosed. :eek:

    We keep out insulin in the fridge. The nurse at the hospital said to do that. We hold it or rub it between our hands to warm it up before giving it to him.
     
  17. CaelinsMommy

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    Thank you for this thread. We just purchased a home down that way. A generator is now at the top of our list of must have items. It hadn't occurred to me before this. Last time we lived down that way was pre-dx and we didn't really see the need for one. Also, glad your family is safe I've seen some pictures from around Jville, so sad!
     
  18. denise3099

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    Our current bottle is in a little tub like a shower caddy with supplies for site changes. So I can just bring the whole caddy to the table, do the change and put it back. It will never get lost or knock over since it's in the caddy. Also, cold insulin develops air bubbles in the resevoir as it warms up, so it's essential not to use cold insulin in the pump and just hook up without removing the air bubbles after it has warmed.

    We have lots of ic and ice packs in the freezer and coolers to keep insulin stash cold for day. But what I really need is those things that you wet, those frio things. That would keep your insulin cold indefinitely just by rewetting. I think it's a vital for emergency preparedness--just haven't gotten around to ordering. :eek:

    OK, no time like the present! :D Who has one, what size did you get and where did you order it from?
     
  19. Christopher

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    It is OK to keep an opened bottle of insulin at room temp. It stings less than cold insulin.
     
  20. joshuasgranny

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    Because of our lifestyle (mostly off-grid and self-sufficient) and the fact that in our location power outages are common and can sometimes last for 2 weeks, we each have a "go bag" (also known as a bug-out bag). In Joshua's bag, we keep enough supplies to last him a month, although we have a year's supply stockpiled. We also have copies of all of his prescriptions, etc. along with emergency food wafers and a portable Berkey water filter. (We also have those items in each of our bags.)

    I do not refrigerate the opened bottle of insulin that we are currently using; instead it goes into his go-bag. When the bottle gets low, I go ahead and open another bottle and put it in there.

    We have plenty of insulin for him, although it is unopened and should be kept refrigerated (which it is). The refrigeration has always worried me; we do not have access to fuel of any kind (other than wood) so even a propane refrigerator or generator is out of the question. I bought one of the Frio bags, but it does not work well enough in our hot and humid climate (where a swamp cooler won't work, a Frio won't work, either). I performed repeated testing with the Frio under various conditions, using a refrigerator thermometer to record the temperatures, and one day at proper temperature was the most I could get from the Frio. Not worth to me the money I paid for it, but other people have had great sucess with them.

    We solved the problem by having an underground storage pipe for the insulin, and we also keep several of those "instant ice packs" in our go-bags. Of course, as another poster pointed out, in the winter a person doesn't have to worry as much about the cooling, but summer is a different matter. The instant ice packs are cheap and work well; they will keep the insulin cold for quite a while but you have to be careful not to freeze the insulin.

    Susan
     

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