Disaster Preparedness: Helpful Tips for Pediatricians and Their Patients

Spring in Oklahoma means the beginning of warm weather and the arrival of severe thunderstorms and an increased chance for tornadoes and damaging winds.  The OKAAP Disaster Preparedness Committee would like to share a few tools with Chapter members to help you get your practice ready for a natural disaster as well as tools for preparing patients and families for this unpredictable time of year.

Preparedness Checklist for Pediatric Practices
Be ready to provide care for your patients even when a natural disaster disrupts your practice operations. Now is the time to prepare or update your office disaster kit and disaster preparedness plan.  Download this office preparedness checklist provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help you get started.

Talk To Your Patients
The volatile weather this time of year can be scary for kids and adolescents. Pediatricians can help parents and caregivers prepare children for frightening weather or with coping after a disaster. We’ve compiled a few resources from HealthyChildren.org that you can download below.
Getting Your Family Prepared for a Disaster                                Download Spanish Version
Tornado Preparedness: Tips for Families                                     Download Spanish Version
Lightning & Sports Safety: When Thunder Roars Go Indoors      Download Spanish Version
Lightning & Storm Safety (audio)

Chapter Resources
In 2013 in response to the El Reno, Moore, and Shawnee tornadoes, the Chapter received funding from Friends of Children to develop a Pediatric Disaster Mental Health Intervention (PDMHI) CME course.  The purpose was to help enable pediatric primary care providers to address mental health care needs with their patients and in their community. These recorded sessions are available at http://www.okaap.org/pdmhi-videos/ or you can request a DVD copy by calling or emailing the Chapter.

Dr. Eve Switzer and Dr. Curtis Knoles chair the Chapter Disaster Preparedness Committee. Last year they attended a Disaster Preparedness Table Top Exercise at the CDC.  One takeaway from that exercise was to remind every pediatrician to make sure your office or facility is signed up to receive disaster alerts from the Oklahoma Health Alert Network. You can email the OK-HAN at okhan@health.ok.gov to sign up. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Chapter or Dr. Switzer and Dr. Knoles who can point you to more disaster preparedness resources.