Author Archives: jkatzburg

Preparing Your Community for Power Outages

As nurses interested in preparing your family, friends and communities for disasters, it is important to remind others of some key actions to take to prepare for the most likely events. As we move to the summer months, powerful storms are likely across the nation. There are some key teaching elements to share with others regarding power outages.

The following are all from Simmons (2013):

  • Have back-up lighting plus spare batteries available.
  • Check the expiration dates on the batteries and that batteries have not corroded inside the flashlights.
  • Lanterns and candles may be used, but be very cautious that burning candles are not knocked over by children and pets.
  • Satellite phones will work, but are costly; cell phone text messages may work.
  • Do not open the refrigerator unless absolutely necessary; piling frozen foods together gives the food a longer “life”.
  • Turn off or unplug as many appliances as possible to prevent damage from a power surge when power returns.
  • When power is restored, turn circuit breakers back on, one at a time.
  • Do not burn kerosene, briquettes or any gas appliances indoors.

Simmons, G. (2013). Common sense and disaster preparedness: A quick guide for staying safe before, during and after any disaster, pp. 118-119. Journal of Emergency Management and American Journal of Disaster Medicine.

Submitted by Joanne C. Langan, PhD, RN, CNE

Guiding Disaster Training Using the ICN Disaster Competencies

Nurses who volunteer to be disaster responders need education and training founded in disaster nurse competencies. The International Council of Nursing Framework of Disaster Nurse Competencies (FDNC; Dorsey, 2009), edited by the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nursing, should be considered as a guide in the education and practice of volunteer disaster nurses to ensure an effective delivery of healthcare during and after a disaster event. The FDNC allows the volunteer disaster nurse to learn basic disaster context. It is structured using four domains: mitigation/prevention competencies, preparedness competencies, response competencies; and recovery/rehabilitation competencies. These four domains are further divided into 10 sub-domains.

The FDNC were written in 2009 and have not been updated, something that is needed. The competencies were offered as an option for countries that do not have such competencies already in place and, for those countries that do have competencies, as a means of updating/validating their competencies, to guide research, and to provide a framework for training nursing students and nurses who volunteer in disasters.

To ensure that volunteer disaster nurses possess adequate knowledge, skills, and abilities to respond in a disaster, these nurses need education and training founded in disaster nurse competencies, possibly those of the FDNC. This will protect populations devastated by disasters and ensure those nurses who volunteer and respond to these disaster do so with the requisite skills and knowledge needed.

Deborah S. Adelman, PhD, RN, NE-BC
Professor, Graduate Nursing Programs, Purdue University Global

Laura Kay Wood, DNP(c), MSN, CMCN, RN
Professor, Graduate Nursing Programs, Purdue University Global


Suggested Resources

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. (2016). 2017-2022 health care preparedness and response capabilities. Retrieved from

Dorsey, D. M. (2009). ICN framework of disaster nursing competencies. Retrieved from

EM-DAT: The International Disaster Database Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters-CRED. (2017). Home. Retrieved from

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. (2016). 2015 disasters in numbers. Retrieved from

World Disaster Report. (2016). Resilience: Saving lives today, investing for tomorrow. Retrieved from

Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action promotes the field of Disaster Nursing

The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action has posted two compelling articles and a must-see YouTube video featuring Tener Goodwin Veenema, Phd, RN FAAN, an expert on disaster nursing and co-founder of the Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing. Dr Veenema is also prominently mentioned in both articles.

The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action is funded by American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Foundation, AARP, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) to advance the field of nursing based on the recommendations contained in the Institute of Medicine Futue of Nursing Report.

The Campaign for Action articles include ‘Hurricane-Battered Hospital Offers Lessons in Disaster Preparedness’ which describes how a hospital in Beaumont, Texas prepared for and remained open during Hurricane Harvey as well as ‘The Next Disaster: Are You Ready?’ which includes tips for nursing personal preparedness, enhancing the nurse’s ability to respond to disasters.

Disaster Health and Sheltering Course for Nursing Students

The Disaster Health and Sheltering course is a two-part awareness level course designed to engage nursing students in health volunteerism during disaster operations. The course is hosted on the website of Disaster Resistant Communities Group (DRCG) in Tallahassee, Florida. Part I can be completed as an independent study or taught face-to-face in a classroom. It consists of an historical American Red Cross video and a narrated PowerPoint presentation accessed through At the completion of the self-study version, students access a link to a 10-question post-test which they print out and present to their nursing faculty as evidence that they completed Part I.

In Part II, students interactively apply Part I knowledge by participating in a shelter-specific tabletop exercise complete with case studies. The customized tabletop exercise was created by Mr. Chris Floyd, Exercise Designer and CEO of DRCG, in coordination with an internal steering group of Red Cross nurses. The Part II classroom exercise is led by a nursing faculty who partners with Red Cross nurses from a local Chapter.

After completing the 4-hour course, (two at home, two in the classroom) students re-enter the website and complete a “hotwash” or course evaluation, then are directed to a link to print out the course completion certificate. Students are then eligible for the American Red Cross Student Nurse Pin and are encouraged to join their local chapter.

Since the inception of the course, almost 13,000 student nurses have been trained.

Course Authors

Dr. Janice Springer

Dr. Cheryl Schmidt

Submitted by: Cheryl K. Schmidt, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN & Janice Springer DNP RN PHN

Are You Ready for a Winter Weather Emergency?


How ready are you for a winter weather emergency? When I began to write this entry, winter had been colder than usual for much of the United States, and a massive winter storm was approaching the east coast. Such conditions pose significant danger to health and safety. I thought that it was a good time to review preparedness for cold weather emergencies.

Consult for many helpful suggestions and links to prepare your family, home, and vehicle before a winter storm strikes. Highlights include:

  • Establish an emergency communication plan in case your family isn’t together when winter weather strikes
  • Keep an emergency kit—including food and water—on hand in the event power goes out or roads are impassable
  • Winterize your home
  • Be safe with heat sources and generators—prevent house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.
  • Know how to shut off water valves
  • Check on elderly or disabled family and neighbors
  • Take care of pets; bring them inside
  • Know what to do in case of power outages. Make sure you consider:
    • Alternate heating sources including extra blankets or sleeping bags
    • Emergency charging options for devices like cell phones
    • Alternatives if home medical equipment uses electricity
  • Winterize your vehicle
  • Keep an emergency kit in the car that includes cold weather-specific items
  • Dress warmly—it’s especially important to cover head, ears, extremities.
  • Walk carefully
  • Drive carefully
  • Avoid overexertion
  • Protect from and watch for symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia

Submitted by Lavonne Adams, PhD, RN, CCRN

Climate and Weather Related Disasters Set New Records in 2017

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2017 was a historic year for climate and weather disasters, inflicting enormous costs in terms of human suffering and financial impact.  Costs have exceeded $300 billion, setting a new U.S. annual record.  Our hearts go out to the countless numbers of individuals who have been affected by the multiple hurricanes, fires, and other disasters which our country endured throughout 2017.  Less than two weeks into 2018, our thoughts are with the victims of the ‘Bomb Cyclone’ winter storm that slammed the East Coast as well as the victims of the California mud slides.  We cannot adequately express our gratitude to first responders and everyone who participates in emergency response and the aftermath; they are our true heroes.

In the early days of 2018, we recommit ourselves to advancing disaster nursing in the United States. Now, more than ever, ensuring “Every Nurse a Prepared Nurse” is a critically important goal.  Wishing you, and your families & friends a safe and healthy 2018.

SADN Panel Presenting on Disaster Nursing Research Projects at NHCPC, Wednesday, Nov. 30th


SADN Panel Presenting on Disaster Nursing Research Projects at NHCPC, Wednesday, Nov. 30th at 10:15 AM in San Diego, CA.  Come hear from some of the founders of the Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing (SADN), including Roberta Lavin, Chair of the SADN Executive Committee, Joanne Langan, Chair of the Practice Workgroup and Aram Dobalian, Director of the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center.  Join us!

Register Today! – Joint ARC & NHCPC Conference | November 28-30, 2017 | San Diego, CA

Join hospital and emergency management leaders, government decision-makers, researchers, academicians, and local and state public health preparedness professionals at 3-day Joint Advancing & Redefining Emergency Management (ARC) and National Healthcare Coalition Preparedness Conference (NHCPC) in San Diego, CA, Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, November 28-30, 2017.

For panel topics and descriptions, please visit ARC Conference Website and  NHCPC Conference Website

Register Today!

SADN Dissemination Workgroup Presentation at American Public Health Association’s APHA 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo

Prepare to Tweet: Making Nurses Disaster-Ready

The SADN Dissemination Workgroup is presenting on its work to promote the Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing (SADN) at the American Public Health Association’s APHA 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo (Nov. 4 – Nov. 8) in Atlanta. If you are coming to these meetings, please join us at the Public Health Nursing Section Session:

4347.0: Disaster Preparation, Response, and Recovery

Tuesday, November 07, 201702:30 PM – 04:00 PM

Georgia World Congress Center – B309

To hear more about the accomplishments of the  SADN Dissemination Workgroup, come listen to the 3:30 presentation: ‘Prepare to Tweet: Making Nurses Disaster-Ready’ at this session. The advancement of disaster nursing, including activation of a new organization with national impact is an enormous and crucial undertaking. The Dissemination Workgroup’s efforts may serve as a model for advancement of large initiatives and newly formed organizations. 



A Thank You Note to Volunteers Who Support Disaster Response

A Thank You Note to Volunteers Who Support Disaster Response

By Anne “Belle” Griffin, MPH,BSN, RN

Clara Barton was 60 years old and working in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington DC when the U.S. Civil War broke out. Realizing the wounded soldiers needed early intervention, she gathered first aid supplies and volunteered herself to care for them on the front line of war. Over the next several years and despite many obstacles, Clara Barton was determined to assure that the U.S. would sign and commit to the Geneva Convention Treaty in 1881, establishing the American Red Cross with its mission to protect the sick and wounded during times of war.1 Today, there are 20,000 volunteer Red Cross nurses who are committed to serving in disaster response, health and safety instruction and program development.2

Recent disasters continue to present opportunities for the same kind of commitment. Hurricane Harvey recently caused overwhelming damage to 40 counties in south eastern Texas. Hurricanes Irma and Maria were right behind, wreaking havoc on the infrastructure of Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Devastating fires in northern California followed. In less than a two-month period, the American Red Cross received over 5,000 new applications from health and mental health volunteers3. Active Red Cross volunteers have provided nearly 195,000 mental health and health services to support and care for those affected by each of the hurricanes and fires.4 Social media outlets provide evidence of the many nurses who have worked well beyond their obligation to support continuity of patient care.

It has now been three years since Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center invited 18 nursing leaders with disaster nursing expertise to develop strategies to assure our nursing workforce is prepared to respond to disaster.5 This effort evolved into the Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing (SADN) and a strong sense of volunteerism has driven its success. The initiative is expanding and the number of volunteers have more than doubled.

Whether it be in the field, in a hospital or in a classroom; SADN wishes to thank those who serve as volunteers and dedicate their time, expertise and energy to be of service to those who are impacted by random and devastating disasters.





5- Veenema, T. G., Griffin, A., Gable, A. R., MacIntyre, L., Simons, R. A. D. M., Couig, M. P., … & Larson, E. (2016). Nurses as leaders in disaster preparedness and response—a call to action. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 48(2), 187-200. Link to Abstract


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