People with Disabilities or Medical Conditions

Environmental Health

Emergencies and Extreme Weather Events - People with Disabilities or Medical Conditions

As of July 1, the inspection, compliance and enforcement functions from several provincial government departments will come together under Nova Scotia Environment.

Departments involved in this consolidation include the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Health and Wellness, the Department of Agriculture, Nova Scotia Environment, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

For more information, visit novascotia.ca/nse/inspection-compliance-enforcement/

Disasters hit everyone hard, but individuals with disabilities, medical conditions or requiring regular access to medications may be at greater risk. There are steps you can take to minimize this risk:

Please note:
Nova Scotia Power runs a Critical Customer Care Program for customers who have electric-powered medical equipment at home that is necessary to sustain life or avoid serious medical complications (such as an oxygen machine). For more information on this program, please call Nova Scotia Power Customer Service at 1-800-428-6230 (TDD number 1-800-565-6051).

Persons with Disabilities

If know someone who is blind or visually impaired:
Store a talking or Braille clock or large-print timepiece with extra batteries, an extra pair of dark glasses if needed and a folded mobility cane. Label your supplies with Braille, large print or fluorescent tape.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing:
Install both audible and visual smoke alarms. At least one should be battery-operated. Store extra batteries for hearing aids and portable TTYs. Store a pad of paper and pens or a small erasable white board for writing notes. Consider getting a small portable battery-operated television set. Emergency broadcasts may give information in American Sign Language (ASL) or open captioning.

If you have mobility problems:
If you use a motorized wheelchair or scooter, have an extra battery. A car battery also can be used with a wheelchair but will not last as long as a wheelchair's deep-cycle battery. Store a lightweight manual wheelchair for backup that can easily be folded and carried. Identify different ways to leave a building and have a plan if elevators are not working.

Persons with Diabetes

View Diabetes Care...Planning for an Emergency for a checklist of how to prepare for and how to protect your health during an emergency. For all medical emergencies, call 9-1-1.

Store at least a three-day supply of whatever you need to manage your diabetes. This may include oral medications, insulin, syringes, blood glucose testing strips and tester (with extra batteries), cleansing wipes and sharps disposal containers.

If you use an insulin pen, you should still store some insulin syringes in case your pen breaks.

Store quick sources of sugar, such as juice packs and hard candies.

Storage of insulin

Unopened bottles of insulin should be refrigerated. If this is not possible, they can be stored at room temperature for up to 28 days and still maintain their potency. Open bottles of insulin can be stored at room temperature.

Insulin should not be exposed to excessive light, heat or cold.
Insulin that clumps or sticks to the sides of the vial or cartridge should not be used.

It is not recommended to reuse insulin syringes; however, if you don’t have enough syringes available in an emergency, this may be necessary. Do not share your insulin syringes with other people.

Persons Requiring Medication

Drugs Exposed to Unsafe Water

Drugs (pills, oral liquids, drugs for injection, inhalers, skin medications) that are exposed to flood water or unsafe municipal water may become contaminated. This contamination may lead to diseases that can cause serious health effects.

Drug products – even those in their original containers – should be discarded if they have come into contact with flood water or contaminated water.
However, these drugs may be lifesaving and replacements may not be readily available. For these lifesaving drugs, if the container is contaminated but the contents appear unaffected (if the pills are dry), the pills may be used until a replacement can be obtained. If a pill is wet, it is contaminated and should be discarded.

Reconstituted Drugs

For children’s drugs that have to be made into a liquid using water (reconstituted), the drug should only be reconstituted with boiled or bottled water. Liquids other than water should not be used to reconstitute these products.

Drugs that Need Refrigeration

Some drugs require refrigeration (for example, somatropin and drugs that have been reconstituted). Check with your pharmacist if any of your medications require refrigeration and what you should do during a power outage. Temperature sensitive drugs lose potency if not refrigerated and should be replaced with a new supply as soon as possible.

If a contaminated product is considered medically necessary and would be difficult to replace quickly, you should contact a healthcare provider for guidance.

If you are concerned about the efficacy or safety of a particular product, contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider