OPINION

Health and Wellness: Electrical dependence

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief

The Dallas County Emergency Management office encourages anyone who uses electric medical devices or assistive technology to create a plan in case your power goes out during a storm, or other disaster. Such equipment includes oxygen, home dialysis, power wheelchairs, and communication technology that need to be plugged in or recharged.

Here are potentially lifesaving steps:

  • Be familiar with your equipment and how to troubleshoot it. Regularly check the backup power source on your equipment, and teach your caregivers and neighbors how to use the backup system.
  • Notify local law enforcement and EMS about your health condition and the equipment you need.
  • Inform your power company that you are energy-dependent so they can list your home as a priority to reconnect during a power failure.
  • Once power is restored, check the settings on your medical devices to make sure they didn’t return to the default mode. This is why you should be familiar with your equipment.
  • When severe weather is predicted, consider staying temporarily with someone else.

Finally, everyone can assist with overall energy consumption by setting thermostats to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. This conservation of energy will reduce your own bill and reduce the strain on our shared energy grid.