How to Prepare for a Crisis

When you're in the middle of an emergency, it can be next to impossible to remember who to contact, let alone share the information they need the most. The best way to prepare for a crisis is to store your health information and key contact list in a safe place where you can easily find it when you need it the most.




Create a Personal Health Record


A Personal Health Record (PHR) is a collection of information about your health. It's not the same as an electronic medical record or electronic health record, which are both owned and stored by your healthcare provider.


Why You Need One


It's useful to have a PHR anytime you move, switch healthcare providers, go on a trip or seek medical treatment because you may be asked to provide this kind of information and it can be hard to remember it all.


In times of crisis, it can be a lifesaver -- literally. If you have a PHR handy, your friends, co-workers or companions can help answer health questions on your behalf if you're unable to do so yourself.


How To Make a PHR


You can either make one online, print off a copy or hand-write it. Make sure you provide your emergency contact person with a copy of it. Some PHR systems can be automatically accessed by medical professionals or you can get a printed ID card and password.


For more information, check out this Consumer Reports article and the Mayo Clinic's webpage on personal health records and patient portals.


What Your PHR Should Include


Here’s what you’ll want to include in your health record, whether it’s digital or on paper:

  • Your name and age

  • Your address

  • Your medication names, doses and schedules

  • Your medical equipment

  • Any chronic conditions (like epilepsy), if applicable

  • Medical consent form

  • Any allergies or immunization records (or other aspects of your health history that could be helpful to emergency medical responders)

  • Personal emergency contact information

  • Key phone numbers of professional emergency contacts, including your family doctor, local emergency services, emergency road service providers and your regional poison control center

You can also search for your state’s downloadable wallet medication card (similar to Connecticut Department of Public Health’s wallet medication card PDF and Word doc, which we’ve included as examples).