AADM Recommends Making a Plan
If a disaster strikes today, would your family be prepared to handle it? It’s a question to which many of us have given too little consideration. The American Academy of Disaster Medicine® (AADM) wants to change that. The AADM, which was formed to educate physicians and healthcare professionals on the importance of disaster preparation in the medical community, recommends that private citizens create a plan to prepare themselves in case of disasters.
Knowing what types of disaster could affect your area will determine the kind of plan you put in place. You should know how to recognize the danger signs and risks of disasters, whether they are natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, or manmade disasters such as terrorist attacks and chemical spills. Your family members should know well ahead of time how they will contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establishing a meeting place that’s familiar to everyone is a smart way to achieve this, and will also serve you well if family members happen to be apart when an evacuation order is issued. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a good disaster preparation plan includes these four elements:
- A way of receiving emergency alerts and warnings
- A shelter plan
- An evacuation route
- A family communication plan
It’s also important that you tailor your plan to your family’s specific needs. This may include making sure there are means of storing and protecting medications and medical equipment, and knowing how to treat basic medical problems. Also, be sure to make special accommodation for family members who are elderly, disabled, or on medically restricted diets. Additionally, your disaster preparation plan should consider the needs of pets and service animals, should you have any.
Disasters can affect entire communities, so it’s essential that physicians are as fully prepared as possible. In conjunction with the AADM, the American Board of Physician Specialties ® (ABPS) offers disaster medicine certification and recertification through the American Board of Disaster Medicine (ABODM). If you are a physician and are interested in becoming a community leader who can effectively coordinate disaster preparation plans and disaster recovery efforts in your area, contact the ABPS. We will happy to tell you about the eligibility requirements for disaster medicine certification from the ABODM.