Making disaster preparedness part of your professional identity
Nurses, physicians, and other health care professionals have numerous responsibilities and areas of potential professional emphasis. Including disaster preparedness as one of these areas of emphasis can help you respond to disasters in a helpful and professional way. Here are some suggestions, based on helpful principles of preparedness and planning, for enhancing your preparedness for disasters.
- In addition to affiliating with the disaster preparedness and intervention components of your professional organization , you may consider becoming part of a disaster-specific group such as these for physicians, chiropractic, physical therapists, and nurses.
- Allocate some of your continuing education to development of core competencies for disaster practice. Doing an internet search on disaster-specific continuing education courses will reveal numerous options in this category.
- Educate yourself about various disasters, health care responses, and the mental health implications of each, through review of websites such as:
- Biological agents
- Center for the Study of Bioterrorism and Emerging Infections: Notification procedures to report known or potential bioterrorism incidents
- Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense: Biological agents fact sheets and information on preparedness and response for hospitals, physicians, and public health practitioners
- US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases: Courses on diagnosis and treatment of victims of biological terrorism
- Medical Management of Biological Casualties Handbook
- US Food and Drug Administration Bioterrorism Web Site
- Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research: Frequently asked questions on countering bioterrorism
- Vaccine Education Center: Anthrax Vaccine
- Chemical agents
- US Army Research Institute of Chemical Defense: Training for medical personnel in the medical management of chemical casualties: Medical Management of Chemical Casualties Handbook
- US Department of Transportation's Office of Hazardous Materials Safety
- US Environmental Protection Agency: Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Resources including how to prevent, diagnose, and treat post-traumatic stress disorder
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Disaster preparedness to meet children's needs
- American College of Physicians — American Society of Internal Medicine: Information on what to do when a biological weapon is suspected
- American College of Surgeons: Unconventional Civilian Disasters: What the Surgeon Should Know
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) Mass Casualty Disaster Plan Checklist: A Template for Healthcare Facilities
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- In a Moment's Notice: Surge Capacity in a Terrorist Bombing: This report provides health care systems, providers and community planners with solutions to potential challenges that may be faced in a terrorist bombing, and it can serve as a vital resource in the health care response for a number of other mass casualty situations.
- Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response
- National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: Emergency Response and Medical Management of Hazardous Material Incidents
- Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA)
- Rapid Response Information System
- National Disaster Medical System
- UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters: article on Bioterrorism: Are You Prepared?
- US Department of Health and Human Services: Answers to questions about anthrax prevention and treatment
- US Department of Homeland Security: Center for Domestic Preparedness
- Volunteer by consulting Georgia disaster information clearinghouses such as Georgia911 to identify immediate and long-term needs. Personal stories of health care volunteers suggest that such volunteering can provide important personal and professional benefits.
This is an excellent University of Washington/CDC on-line training module.