The American Heart Association has important tips to prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters that can negatively impact physical and mental health

June 5, 2023 — June is the start of hurricane season in the U.S., and as you’re making your emergency preparedness checklist, the American Heart Association cautions that it’s also important to protect your heart and overall health in the wake of a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Scientific research shows it’s not only physical devastation that impacts the health and safety of people in the path of a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Fontaine Timmer, DNP and American Heart Association Palm Beach County board president, says there are several factors that may lead to increased cardiovascular disease and risk after a hurricane or other natural disaster.

“During and after a storm, many people experience extreme stress and trauma, which research shows can lead to an increase in cardiovascular disease risk. The impact can be more intense for heart disease and stroke patients,” Timmer says. “Additionally, in the aftermath of a significant natural disaster, property destruction and evacuations affect many basic support resources. This can make it challenging to see a health care professional for routine check-ups or to refill or adjust medications, especially for more vulnerable populations.”

The American Heart Association’s Disaster Resources page includes a wide range of helpful information to help people prepare for a natural disaster.

In addition, here are some quick tips:

  • Take time now to write down any medical conditions, allergies and medications, including doses and the time you take medications, along with your pharmacy name, address and phone number. Keep the information with any other “go-kit” items you have handy for quick evacuation.
  • If you do need to evacuate, even temporarily, bring your medications and your health information with you in a resealable plastic bag to help keep it dry.
  • If your medication is lost, damaged by water, or was left behind when you evacuated, research open pharmacies and seek a refill as quickly as possible.
  • Some states allow pharmacists to make medically necessary exceptions on certain types of prescription refills during an emergency. Information on all state emergency prescription refill laws is available here.
  • Use the AHA’s Patient Preparedness Plan if you have diabetes and use insulin. There you’ll find a checklist of supplies and guidelines on how to prepare for an emergency.

Another way to prepare ahead for a possible medical emergency is to learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) until help arrives. If performed correctly, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. You could be saving the life of someone you love. A simple, one-minute video shows you what you need to know to perform hands-only CPR.

As always, the American Heart Association remains a resource for information and guidance. Visit for the latest on heart and stroke health.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.