“You all have done a great job and provided fool proof tools to educate the public”

Melinda Dixon
Beck’s Drugs Oxygen and Home Medical


Prepare now for power outages – using B.R.E.A.T.H.E. preparedness resources. The information and resources provided on this website have been designed to help people and communities be better prepared for power outage emergencies.

B.R.E.A.T.H.E. resources are available to help:
1) Individuals who rely on power-operated medical equipment.
2) Home Medical Equipment Companies (HMECs) who assist their patients.
3) A variety of Community Emergency Planners (for instance - local health departments, emergency management agencies, and hospitals) in their work preparing residents and communities to be more resilient during and after power outages.
Learn More

What is B.R.E.A.T.H.E ?

For people who rely on power-operated medical equipment for health reasons, the acronym B.R.E.A.T.H.E. is your preparedness roadmap for power outages. Click on each letter of the word B.R.E.A.T.H.E., nearby, to see the recommended preparedness action steps.

After the “BREATHE” acronym has been reviewed, please feel free to review the BREATHE resources for people who rely on power-operated medical equipment featured in the section for “Individuals,” see tab at the top of the page or click on the picture labeled “Individuals” on this page.

Be Proactive – Act Now!
  • Don’t wait for an emergency or disaster to happen! Act now on the following suggestions.
  • Call your local power company to explore whether they have a medical equipment registry.
Reserve Medical Supplies
  • Keep extra medical equipment/medical supplies (and keep old equipment when getting upgrades) for use in an emergency. Use items periodically and replace if/when needed, ensuring usability.
Establish a Support Team
  • Find dependable people (family, friends, co-workers, etc.), in and out of your immediate area, who can help you in an emergency, when necessary. Having out-of-area supports are important in case those closest to you also become impacted by the emergency situation/disaster.
Alternative Power Sources
  • It is vital to have back-up power options in place for your equipment in emergency situations.
  • Read your medical equipment manual, particularly about alternative power sources. Get a generator to power your equipment and have properly installed by a certified electrician/ professional or get support team members with generators.
Talk With Your Home Medical Equipment Provider and Make Plans
Ask your home medical equipment provider about their plans to assist you in emergencies, including short and long-term power outages. Examples of important provider information are:
  • Primary and secondary person to call during and/or after an emergency/disaster
  • Business phone numbers after business hours emergency numbers)
  • After hours emergency phone number
  • Out-of-area emergency call center number if local provider is unavailable
  • Who to call or where to go for treatment if provider is not available after a disaster
  • Any other important information
Home Emergency Supply Kit
  • Compile and store at least 3 day’s (or more) worth of emergency supplies, e.g., food, water, first aid kit, and include your medical equipment supplies, medication, etc. Visit: http://www.ready.gov to learn more about creating an emergency preparedness kit!
Emergency Communication
  • Have a back-up plan for emergency communication. During disasters/emergencies, some communication systems may work when others fail. The more systems (email, cell phone, two-way radios, etc.) you have available, the more likely you will be able to contact other people.
  • If you have texting capability, it has been documented in some disasters that people were able to get messages through via texting while phone systems were overrun with calls.
  • Another inexpensive back-up plan is to have people from your support team automatically contact you in person, if possible, when communication systems are down.
"As a hospital emergency manager and Healthcare Coalition leader, the BREATHE program and the BREATHE website are great resources. Having worked multiple disasters in Southern Illinois prior to the program’s start, I wish these resources were available years ago."

Mike Maddox, RN
Regional Hospital Coordinator
President of Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition