On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas leading to catastrophic flooding in Houston and surrounding areas. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Irma slammed into the Caribbean and Florida, causing flooding, damage, and widespread power outages. Most hospitals in the impacted areas sheltered-in-place requiring nurses and other critical staff to stay at the facilities for extended periods.
While these disasters had some advance warning, many aspects of the disaster were uncertain including the extent and location of flooding, power outages, etc. Other disasters, such as tornadoes or earthquakes, strike with little or no warning. Previous studies have found that lack of personal preparedness, concern/fear for family and pets, concern for the effect of the disaster on self and personal property, and transportation difficulties pose major barriers to disaster response. Although many agree that healthcare organizations should address the personal preparedness of their employees, little is known about the degree to which the U.S. nursing workforce is personally prepared to respond to disasters for extended periods of time.
The Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing believes personal preparedness of the nursing workforce is paramount. This week, SADN members will be hosting a presentation on personal preparedness at the Emergency Nurses 2017 Conference in St. Louis, MO (Details below).
Title: Now is the Time, Personal Preparedness Can’t Wait!
Date: Thursday, September 14, 2017
Presentation time 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM
We hope conference attendees will be able to join us for this session.
For nurses who are not attending this conference, we recommend you undertake the following steps to get prepared as soon as possible:
- Assemble disaster supplies kit for home, work, and car
- Create a family disaster plan. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area and have a plan in place that addresses how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Tailor this plan to any special needs your family has, including care of pets.
- Practice and update your plan regularly, just like a fire drill.
- Familiarize yourself with your organization’s emergency operations plan and know your role if a disaster strikes.
See https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1549-20490-4633/areyouready_full.pdf for more information on becoming personally prepared.
Alicia Gable, MPH