Prepare Your Pharmacy for Natural Disasters

Pharmacy work can be unpredictable. Every day brings a new set of challenges that keeps you and your staff on your toes. Expecting the unexpected is the name of the game.

But there are things that you can’t expect nor control. With hurricane season now upon us, it’s high time to review your pharmacy’s contingency plans for natural disasters. At the time of writing, Hurricane Beryl is hitting the Houston, Texas, area, leaving over 2 million people without power. This might not be the most pleasant discussion, but a necessary one nonetheless.

Evaluate and Update Emergency Plans

Your pharmacy should have a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan that is regularly reviewed and updated. Your plan should cover various disaster scenarios, from hurricanes and floods to earthquakes and fires — especially if you live in a region that’s a hotbed for certain natural disasters.

For example, pharmacies in coastal areas should prioritize hurricane preparedness, while those in seismic zones should focus on earthquake response.

Train and Communicate with Staff

Effective communication is crucial during emergencies. Ensure all of your staff is well-trained and understand their roles in the event of a disaster. Conduct regular emergency drills to keep everyone sharp and ready to act. If your staff doesn’t have the time or bandwidth to physically do practice drills, make sure they at least know your pharmacy’s protocol.

Establish a clear chain of command and develop a communication plan that includes contact information for all employees, suppliers, and local emergency services.

Secure Inventory and Supply Chain

Maintaining your pharmaceutical inventory is vital, especially during a disaster when supply chains may be disrupted. Keep an inventory of critical drugs and medical supplies that are necessary for your patients.

Consider communicating with multiple suppliers to diversify your supply chain and reduce the risk of shortages. Additionally, work with your suppliers to understand their disaster preparedness plans and how they can support you during an emergency.

Have a Backup Generator

Ensure that your pharmacy is equipped with a reliable backup generator to maintain power during outages. Additionally, secure all shelves and fixtures to prevent damage from shaking or flooding. Keep important documents and records in waterproof and fireproof containers.

Leverage Your Pharmacy Technology

Technology plays a crucial role in disaster preparedness and response. Utilize pharmacy software to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of inventory, prescriptions, and patient information.

Cloud-based pharmacy software offers the advantage of remote access, allowing you to manage your pharmacy’s operations from anywhere with an internet connection.

Axys is long-term care’s first cloud-based pharmacy management software. With its fast updates, low-cost scaling, and comprehensive security, your LTC pharmacy operations can go uninterrupted (for the most part).

RedSail Technologies provides robust pharmacy software solutions that can help you streamline your operations and enhance your disaster preparedness. Find out what pharmacy system works best for you.

Establish a Patient Communication Plan

Your patients rely on you for their medication needs, and effective communication is key to ensuring they remain informed and prepared. Develop a communication plan to keep patients updated before, during, and after a disaster.

Depending on your pharmacy software, you can message your patients about disaster protocols or other happenings. PioneerRx’s integrated patient messaging lets you send messages to your patient base at a moment’s notice.

Furthermore, use social media, email newsletters, and automated phone calls to share important information, such as changes in operating hours, emergency contact numbers, and tips for staying safe.

Coordinate with Local Authorities

Building strong relationships with local emergency services and health authorities can significantly enhance your pharmacy’s disaster response capabilities.

Participate in community emergency preparedness programs and collaborate with local health departments to stay informed about potential threats and response strategies.

Share your disaster plans with local authorities and seek their input to ensure your pharmacy’s plans align with community-wide efforts.


Preparing for natural disasters is a critical aspect of pharmacy management. By taking proactive steps to secure your inventory, protect your premises, train your staff, and implement technology solutions, you can minimize the impact of disasters on your operations and ensure continuity of care for your patients.

Remember, the key to effective disaster preparedness is regular review and practice. Stay vigilant, stay prepared, and stay safe.

Written by:
Kevin Diaz
Digital Content Writer, RedSail Technologies
Kevin Diaz

Kevin’s seven years of retail pharmacy work gives him first-hand knowledge of what it means to run an efficient pharmacy. His work as a pharmacy technician assures readers that he not only knows what he’s talking about but is able to demystify complex pharmacy concepts for readers and patients alike. In essence, he walked the walk so he can talk the talk.

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