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Disaster Preparedness Month: Creating a Family Emergency Plan

Disaster MedicineSeptember is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and the American Board of Disaster Medicine (ABODM), along with the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS), recommends that all households maintain an up-to-date family emergency plan. The plan should be built around the natural disasters that are most likely to occur in your geographic region (hurricanes in Florida, earthquakes in California, flooding or fires anywhere), but it also should take into account potential man-made disasters that could happen anywhere (chemical spills or factory explosions, etc.). There really is nothing more important than protecting your loved ones, and without an updated plan in place, you simply can’t be prepared for life’s unexpected crises.

While the ABODM provides physician board certification in disaster medicine, and the Diplomates of the ABODM are integral when it comes to community-wide disaster preparedness and recovery, every individual household should have its own plan in place. To that end, the American Academy of Disaster Medicine (AADM) recommends following these emergency planning tips to get prepared during National Disaster Preparedness Month:

  • Think about the types of disasters that are most likely to occur in your community and how residents will be notified (e.g., hurricane, tornado, flood, blizzard, etc.).
  • Consider the different safety needs for every kind of potential emergency.
  • Locate the nearest disaster emergency centers or shelters in your community.
  • Map out an evacuation route.
  • Post emergency phone numbers near telephones or program them into your mobile phone and keep it handy at all times.
  • Prepare a list of family physicians in the event that you or a family member is injured.
  • Store all necessary emergency items in easily accessible places (e.g., backpacks or duffel bags).
  • Stock up on emergency items such as prescription medicine, eye glasses, drinking water, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, personal hygiene items, extra sets of clothes, and rain gear.
  • Select a location near your home as a meeting place, and another place to meet outside your neighborhood in case you and your family members can’t return home after a disaster.

For more information about  about the important role that ABODM board certified physicians play during times of disaster, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official multi-specialty board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.