WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Weather conditions in 2010 have been anything but predictable, as severe snowstorms, floods and earthquakes have caused major disruptions in communities across the U.S. With hurricane season fast approaching, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) urges dialysis patients to be prepared and have emergency plans and supplies in place. Dialysis patients typically need treatment every two to three days, and when storms disrupt electrical power or make routine travel to treatments impractical, any substantial delay in dialysis care can be life-threatening.
FMCNA, the world's largest integrated provider of products and services for individuals undergoing dialysis because of chronic kidney failure, is preparing its staff, clinics and patients for a potentially busy hurricane season, which may include as many as 15 named storms, with the potential of four major hurricanes, according to forecasters at Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, which has gained international recognition for its hurricane forecasts. Dialysis clinics and patients need to be prepared for worst-case scenarios. FMCNA has developed extensive contingency plans to dependably provide continuity of care despite power outages and other emergencies that could impact its dialysis services.
“With the recent earthquakes in California and the severe winter weather across the country this year, FMCNA continues to review and upgrade our disaster plans, and we have been preparing for hurricane season,” said Bill Numbers, FMCNA vice president of operations support and incident commander for disaster response and planning. “We are also urging our patients to begin their preparations now, and have emergency supplies and plans in place before hurricane season starts.”
Fresenius Medical Care Offers Five Disaster Preparedness Tips for Dialysis Patients:
1. Keep your emergency phone numbers handy. When bad weather threatens, contact your local facility and follow instructions they may provide. Fresenius Medical Care offers a patient hotline at 1-800-626-1297, for patients who need help finding the nearest open dialysis facility in a disaster. The hotline is staffed by customer service specialists who can provide locations and contact numbers for alternate facilities, if necessary.
2. Carry your up-to-date personal information with you at all times (ID, medication and allergy lists, insurance, emergency contact information, type of dialysis treatment).
3. Talk to your doctor and family about your evacuation plan — what you should do and where you should go if a disaster strikes. Keep track of local weather forecasts.
4. Create a disaster kit with emergency supplies and at least one extra three-day supply of medicines. Many patients find it convenient to keep medicines and medical supplies in an easy-to-carry fanny pack or backpack.
5. Store a three-day supply of food based on your emergency meal plan. Speak with your healthcare team about when to begin following your emergency plan. Limit fluid intake to two cups per 24 hours and avoid fresh fruit and vegetables.
FMCNA has resources across the country to help respond to emergencies such as hurricanes – including portable generators, fuel, food and water, as well as mobile trailers that can be used by employees whose homes are affected by storms.
FMCNA also has mobile generator trucks based in the Midwest, and deployed a truck to Pennsylvania during severe snowstorms this past winter. The trucks connect to clinics that need backup power during an outage, and can also be used to carry emergency supplies. With a fuel capacity of 200 gallons, the mobile generator trucks can provide power for about 48 hours at a time.
Hurricane season lasts from June through November, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Note: This press release and disaster preparedness tips for patients will soon be available in Spanish at www.ultracare-dialysis.com.
About Fresenius Medical Care
Fresenius Medical Care North America is a subsidiary of Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA, the world's largest integrated provider of products and services for individuals undergoing dialysis because of chronic kidney failure, a condition that affects more than 1,770,000 individuals worldwide. Through its network of 2,553 dialysis clinics in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, Fresenius Medical Care provides dialysis treatment to approximately 195,650 patients around the globe. Fresenius Medical Care is also the world's leading provider of dialysis products such as hemodialysis machines, dialyzers and related disposable products. Fresenius Medical Care is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FME, FME3) and the New York Stock Exchange (FMS, FMS-p).
For more information about FMCNA's U.S. network of more than 1,800 dialysis facilities, visit the Company's website at www.ultracare-dialysis.com (in English and Spanish). For more information about Fresenius Medical Care, visit the Company’s website: www.fmc-ag.com.
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