Tampa, FL- September is National Preparedness Month. The American Academy of Disaster Medicine (AADM) recommends medical practices, that could be called upon to help treat injuries − or even to save lives − establish and maintain a comprehensive, up-to-date plan to ride out a disaster or wide-spread community emergency.
“Disaster preparedness and response experts are integral when it comes to community-wide preparation and recovery, but every medical practice should have its own disaster plan as well,” said Dr. Martin E. Thornton, President of AADM.
While every practice is unique, there are several general steps every physician or office manager can take once the potential serious risks have been identified:
1. Prioritize the practice’s operations on the basis of what will be maintained throughout the duration of the emergency and determine how those operations will be maintained.
2. Assign team members to relevant tasks, preferably in keeping with their everyday duties.
3. Create an inventory, with photographs and receipts, of every item in the office.
4. Make a list of emergency contacts and keep it in an easily accessible place.
5. Create a document, preferably digitally and in print, providing all the details of the disaster plan.
Other factors should be taken into account as well. In fact, the number one consideration during a disaster situation is the safety of staff members and patients. An evacuation route should also be planned, in case the immediate vicinity becomes unsafe. It also is vital to establish guidelines for recovery ahead of time, keeping them as general as possible to suit the particular emergency or loss.
The AADM-affiliated American Board of Disaster Medicine (ABODM) provides a path to board certification in Disaster Medicine for qualified physicians, both MDs and DOs. “Physicians who want to undertake leadership roles in times of community-wide calamity would do well to reinforce their credentials by focusing on Disaster Medicine as a second specialty,” said Dr. Thornton.
ABODM is a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS). The ABPS is the official multi-specialty board certification body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc. ® and certifies physicians in various medical specialties including Disaster Medicine.