Information about Durable Medical Equipment (DME)

If you rely on electric or battery-dependent medical technologies (e.g., breathing machines, a power wheelchair or scooter, and home oxygen or dialysis), it is critical that you are prepared for an extended power outage.

Have a plan

  • Identify a place to stay that has power. You could stay with a friend, relative or hotel/motel.
  • Keep emergency phone numbers handy, including people who know how to operate your equipment.
  • Use alternative sources of power: Read equipment instructions and talk to equipment suppliers about your backup power options. (e.g., deep cell marine battery plus an inverter to connect the two.)
  • Know the working time of any batteries that support your systems.
  • Consider a safe backup power source, such as a generator or uninterruptible power supply.

When in doubt, contact your home health provider or equipment vendor/supplier.


  • Plan for how to recharge batteries when the electricity is ot. Find out if a PG&E Community Resource Center is available in your area and ask for hours of operation.
  • Check with your vendor/supplier to find alternative ways to charge batteries that are appropriate for your equipment, such as using a vehicle's cigarette lighter or car battery.
  • Identify ways to extend battery life like disconnecting a detachable humidifier from your CPAP machine to reduce battery usage.

Medical Equipment/Supplies


  • Contact your oxygen supplier (e.g., Apria, Lincare, etc) for questions about your oxygen equipment or supply.
  • Check with your provider to determine if you can use a reduced flow rate in an emergency to extend the life of the system.


  • CPAP is not a lifesaving device; ask your provider if it is possible to go without for a few days.
  • If you use CPAP with oxygen, use oxygen alone. Speak with you provider about oxygen needs first.
  • Sleep sitting more upright using pillows and wedges.

Reference: Shasta County Health & Human Services Agency | | |

Download DME Tips (PDF)

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