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Make a plan for your medical devices 

Know what to do in case of a power outage

POWER OUTAGES can pose a major threat to people who use medical devices at home—devices like respirators, oxygen tanks, home dialysis equipment and more. It is important to be prepared and have a plan to ensure your medical device is working properly if an outage does occur. 

Information about your device, steps to ensure use during an outage, availability of necessary supplies and knowing what to do after the power goes out are all vital to guaranteeing your safety. 

First, gather information about your device and have it easily accessible. That could include: 

  • Type of device you have (include model #)
  • Home health company that supplies your device
  • Where you purchase your supplies
  • Name of your primary care physician and contact number
  • Your medical power of attorney (if applicable) and contact number

Next, your plan should include ensure proper functioning of your device during an active power outage. Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

  • Can a power surge affect the way my device functions? 
  • Does my device have a back-up battery system? How long will it last? 
  • Can my device run off a different power source? 
  • Can I be harmed if my device fails for any period of time? 
  • Are there any specific directions related to power outages and my device? (These would be noted in a user manual.) 

Finally, always have extra supplies for your device on hand, as your power could be out for an extended period. A safe bet is to keep three days’ worth of extra device supplies and place them in an area that is easily remembered and accessed. Additionally, make sure to include proper cleaning supplies for your device. 

Planning and preparation are the best defenses against harm during a power outage. Having a plan in place will ensure you are ready to act quickly act when necessary.

JODY CECIL is a respiratory therapist and education coordinator for UK HealthCare Respiratory Services. 

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