Winter is here: get prepared to handle an emergency

Winter is here, and it’s important to have plans in place to deal with bad weather or a disaster if it hits. It’s even more critical to have an emergency plan if you’re on dialysis – missing treatments can be fatal. Being prepared will help you avoid serious problems!

Always have a week’s supply of medications on hand.

Make a backup transportation plan for getting to dialysis if your normal plans fall through.

Carry a list of contact information for your dialysis clinic, doctor, dietitian, friends and relatives. Be sure your clinic has three different ways to reach you.

Have emergency diet food at home in case you can’t get to dialysis. When you can’t dialyze due to transportation, power or water problems, you still have to keep your blood values within normal limits until you can receive dialysis treatments again. You can do this by changing your diet. The emergency diet plan is not a substitute for dialysis, but will work for a short period of time (up to 5 days) when you can’t dialyze. Learn more here. Your dietitian can also help you select foods to help you survive if you are unable to get treatments.

Build an emergency supply kit. Things to include:

– Emergency diet food supply for three to five days
– Paper or plastic plates, cups, bowls, eating utensils
– Non-electric can opener
– Aluminum foil
– Battery-operated radio
– Flashlight
– Extra batteries
– Candles and matches in waterproof container
– First aid kit
– Sharp knife and scissors
– Paper towels
– Baby or sanitary wipes
– Garbage bags
– Gallon jugs of distilled water (one gallon per person per day)
– Bleach and eyedropper to purify water (16 drops per gallon of water)

Get a medical alert bracelet so emergency medical staff will know you’re a dialysis patient and if you’re diabetic. You can order though our pharmacy or online.

Emergency contacts
Keep your Northwest Kidney Centers magnet handy for important numbers to call in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have one, contact your nurse educator.


In case of an emergency, call 206-292-3001 for a recording that tells if your dialysis clinic is open or closed. Or call your clinic directly.

If your clinic is closed, call 1-800-606-9174 to learn where you can dialyze instead.

For medical emergencies, dial 911.