CPAP During Lightning Storms And Hurricanes

CPAP During Lightning Storms And Hurricanes

Key Takeaways

  • Hurricanes and other storms can cause power outages unpredictably, and CPAP patients need to be prepared to manage their sleep apnea if their power goes out.
  • When stocking up on emergency supplies like food and water, remember to also purchase CPAP supplies like filter and tubing so you always have them on hand.
  • Having a backup power supply, like portable batteries, is also crucial to continue CPAP therapy during a power outage. 

Living in a region that has hurricanes can be challenging. If you also need to manage CPAP in these regions, a few more challenges are added on.

Everyone who has experience with an approaching hurricane knows to be prepared. That means stocking up on food and water essentials, finding a safe location and readying emergency supplies like first aid, batteries and flashlights.

Understanding CPAP and its Importance

CPAP therapy is the most effective therapy for managing obstructive sleep apnea and should not be postponed, even for a hurricane. The therapy requires a CPAP machine that directs pressurized air through a hose and mask to keep the airway open during sleep. When an airway periodically closes during sleep, it causes the symptoms of sleep apnea including sleep deprivation.  

For CPAP patients during a hurricane or lightning storm, foregoing therapy is probably not a good idea. Hurricanes can last throughout the night and patients sacrificing CPAP therapy may experience harmful effects after the storm. Interrupted CPAP therapy can lead to daytime drowsiness, frequent headaches, and other issues associated with sleep deprivation.

Pre-Hurricane Preparation

pre-hurricane preparationpre-hurricane preparation

A CPAP therapy patient can prepare with the right supplies, so they have peace of mind before, during and after a hurricane.

Stocking up on Supplies

You can stay prepared before a hurricane strikes. Stock up on extra CPAP supplies including masks, tubing, filters and water chambers, if they use a humidifier with your CPAP machine. You should also keep extra cleaning supplies for your CPAP equipment and spare parts in case of equipment failure.

Power Backup Solutions

With hurricanes comes the risk of power failures, sometimes for extended periods of time. You can prepare with battery backups and portable power stations to continue to operate your CPAP machine through an outage. Solar-powered chargers and manual generators can also provide emergency power until power is restored.

Medication and Documentation

If you take medications to manage a medical condition, a backup supply of those medications should be kept ready during hurricane season. Medical records and CPAP prescriptions also ensure documentation in the event records are lost or destroyed by the storm.

During the Hurricane

During a hurricane, your CPAP therapy should be one of your priorities. Be prepared to reserve and manage backup power accordingly.

Maintaining Power to Your CPAP

While battery backups provide much needed power for CPAP therapy, there is no telling how long a hurricane can last. Be sure to use backup power efficiently. When relying on a generator for power, be sure to prioritize your CPAP needs.

Safe and Comfortable Environment

Having a safe and comfortable place to shelter during a hurricane is critical. Make plans for an evacuation location that is outside the hurricane zone or one that helps you remain safe during the storm.

Unfortunately, a hurricane can produce more than enough stress to prevent healthy sleep. Be prepared to manage your sleep needs with a few tips:

  • Practice meditation and relaxation techniques can help you manage stress, especially before going to sleep

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule: erratic sleep can affect your CPAP therapy.

  • Prepare to sleep in an unfamiliar environment, which can evoke stress. Use eye covers and ear plugs to create a quieter and darker personal environment that is peaceful, even if unfamiliar.

Post-Hurricane Actions

After the hurricane has passed, you still need to make sure your CPAP equipment is in working order.

Checking Equipment 

Inspect your CPAP machine and accessories to ensure no damage was incurred during transition to your safe place. You will have to clean and sanitize your equipment after the storm as it most likely has become dirty during transit to your evacuation location.

Resuming Normal Therapy

The stress and anxiety of a hurricane can be upsetting, but it is important to resume normal and consistent CPAP therapy to ensure CPAP compliance.

If your CPAP therapy routine has become interrupted, try to get back on track by following your sleep schedule.  Pick up your normal patterns of behavior before going to sleep that you practiced before the hurricane. Having difficulty with sleep after the storm is normal. Contact your doctor about altering your CPAP machine settings to help adjust. Your doctor may also provide other options to help you sleep until you get yourself back into a consistent sleep pattern.

Additional Tips and Resources

You are not alone as a CPAP patient in a hurricane. Here are some valuable resources to help you learn more about managing CPAP therapy through all stages of a hurricane.

Emergency Contacts

Useful Apps and Websites

Use these websites and apps to prepare for hurricanes.

  • National Hurricane Center
  • NOAA Hurricane Tracking App: Clime
  • Emergency App, by the American Red Cross
  • The FEMA App
  • The My Hurricane Tracker & Alerts App

Community Support

Find a CPAP community support group in your area.


If you live in a hurricane zone and you practice CPAP therapy, be sure to always have enough supplies and a plan in place before the next hurricane strikes. While hurricanes can be stressful and anxious events, your CPAP therapy, sleep health and personal health should not suffer. With the right preparation, you can manage a hurricane event with peace of mind.

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.