AUSTIN (KXAN) — When it floods, you’ve heard the saying before, “turn around, don’t drown.” CEO of Direct Relief Thomas Tighe said don’t risk another sign to avoid becoming a victim.

“The people who are most vulnerable in emergencies are the people who are vulnerable the day before,” Tighe said.

Direct Relief responds to worldwide disasters to help victims after a tragedy strikes, but it’s what you can do before that Tighe said can also save you a lot of pain.

“I think it’s really important for those who have an ongoing prescription medication, to write it down, write down on a piece of paper, the dosage, the drug, the dosage, the strength, the prescribing physician and the phone number, and make a digital copy of that,” Tighe advised.

A survey from Direct Relief found “a significant portion of people would either have difficulty continuing their medications or finding aid for their illness during an emergency.”

  • Three in four people (76%) would worry about their health if they could not access their medications during an emergency, and concern increases with age. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) people 77 or older would worry if they couldn’t access their medications in an emergency; yet, a little more than a third (37%) said they would have a week or less of medication on hand if they had to evacuate right now.
  • Over seven in 10 (72%) Americans do not have a backup supply of critical medications, and nearly eight in 10 (78%) do not have accessible medical records and copies of prescription information.
  • One in two (50%) Americans have not put their medical documents online in case they lose access to other forms of documentation during an emergency.
  • Americans, on average, ranked their medication refills as their third-most pressing concern and getting access to medical care as their fifth-most pressing concern, while people ages 65+ ranked medication refills as their second most pressing concern — above their pets.
  • About half (47%) of Americans with a chronic medical condition would not know where to access medication during an emergency.

Tighe said having a list of all medications before a disaster hits can be life saving.

“That’s a really easy, important step for everyone to take,” he said. “Unfortunately, we see the consequences of that not happening. What’s a chronic condition well-managed can become an acute crises if unmanaged.”