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Saturday, June 19, 2021
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Disaster Preparedness Information

MedChi Disaster Preparedness Committee

The Disaster Preparedness Task Force was formed in 2002 in order to study the role of MedChi in Disaster Preparedness for the State of Maryland.  The task set forth was to develop recommendations for preparing Maryland physicians and other practitioners for public health disasters, including terrorist actions, and for utilizing MedChi and other professional organizations toward that end and coordinating physician efforts with voluntary professional agencies.  In 2006, the task force became a standing MedChi Committee.

We live in a time of climate change, natural disasters, and fear of terrorism and pandemics.  As physicians, we have an obligation to provide care for patients not just under “normal” circumstances but also during these potential crises.  The Disaster Preparedness Committee is dedicated to helping physicians prepare themselves, their families, and their medical practices for these eventualities.  Below is a list of Internet links that may assist Maryland physicians in this endeavor.

Web Sites for Disaster Preparedness Education

  • General Disaster Prep info:
  • Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)  This is a good general disaster reference site with preparation for a variety of types of disasters with a focus on individuals, families, and communities.
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) This provides disaster preparation for all public health emergencies including, but not limited to, infectious disease.  This provides information for health professionals, individuals, families, with specific information for older adults and children.  There is information on recent outbreaks and incidents which is updated regularly making this site a good one to visit frequently.
  • FEMA National Incident Management System This is a more detailed disaster preparation site with a focus on a national perspective.  There are links to numerous resources and training with the opportunity to sign up for regular alerts.
  • Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s Preparedness Office This provides local and regional disaster advisories, general disaster preparation information, and a link to MD Responds which is an organization that provides community disaster assistance.
  • Emergency Preparedness for Older Americans This guide will cover the common types of emergencies that family and caregivers of seniors should be aware of, tips for helping the elderly evacuate when needed, and a handy checklist of items to have and bring with you in the event of an emergency.
  • The Complete Guide to Hurricane Safety This guide goes over general lifestyle tips and things you can do to proactively be prepared for a hurricane. Do these things now, so that if a storm could be headed your way, you’re ready.
  • More specific prep with links to training:
  • FEMA Training Independent Study Site: This provides links to numerous independent study disaster training sites.
  • National Disaster Life Support Foundation (for BDLS/ADLS training): The National Disaster Life Support Foundation, Inc. (NDLSF) oversees the National Disaster Life Support (NDLS) courses, a series of education programs to better prepare health care professionals and emergency response personnel for mass casualty events. The NDLS courses are comprehensive, all-hazards competency-based, standardized, and multi-disciplinary. These courses assist health professionals respond to mass casualty events regardless the cause.
  • FEMA Training Site: This provides links to intensive disaster training courses at locations around the country.
  • Infectious disease disaster info:
  • Link to Maryland Responds volunteer organization:
  • Family disaster preparedness Disaster Hero video game (adults and kids)
  • Maryland CERT This is a Community Emergency Response Team site for disaster preparation and training that has the goal of helping people provide assistance to their own communities following a disaster.

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is the nation’s state to state mutual aid system.  The website has a description of the legal authority for the compact and educational resources that include distance learning and registration for face-to-face instruction, often held in Emmitsburg, MD.  The resources are targeted to personnel who expect to be deployed through EMAC. They are not approved for continuing medication education credit.

For physicians interested in assisting in disaster and health emergencies, the better option is to register with MD Responds.  MD Responds provides registrants with periodic announcements of training and continuing education opportunities.

Coping with Trauma
The effects of a disaster, terrorist attack, or other public health emergency can be long-lasting, and the resulting trauma can affect those not directly impacted by the disaster. CDC’s “Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event” lists resources that provide general strategies for promoting mental health and resilience. These materials were developed by various organizations on the basis of experiences in prior emergencies.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Resources

The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline, provides 24/7, year-round crisis counseling and support for persons experiencing signs of distress as a result of disaster.

• Call 1-800-985-5990
• Call TTY for deaf/hearing impaired 1-800-846-8517
• Text TalkWithUs to 66746

SAMHSA has additional resources on dealing with disaster at the SAMHSA website.

For More Information
CDC’s Mass Casualties: Related Links web page.
CDC’s Public Health Resources: State Health Departments, a state health department website locator
CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control website, Injury and Violence Prevention Control.

Summary of Recommendations adopted at the September 2010 House of Delegates Meeting:

The recommendations developed by the committee to assure that MedChi continues to play a role in disaster preparedness in the state are as follow:

1. MedChi should monitor information and keep physicians informed in a disaster or public health emergency utilizing FRED and a liaison relationship with the DHMH to receive information and email/facsimile lists to disseminate it.  MedChi should conduct drills at least annually to test and evaluate the effectiveness of these communication links.
2. MedChi should update its web site for disaster preparedness information and education.
3. MedChi should encourage and promote Basic Disaster Life Support (BDLS) and Advanced Disaster Life Support (ADLS) training and promote additional educational opportunities for physician education in the realm of disaster preparedness.
4. MedChi should promote enrollment in the MPVC and educational opportunities in disaster preparedness in its publications and at its Annual Meeting.
5. MedChi should encourage physicians to join Maryland’s formal organized volunteer programs.
6. MedChi should study the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Act, compare it to current law, and make recommendations for additional liability protections for physicians who provide care during disasters.

General Preparedness Notices

  • 3/16/2014 - Prepare for Unpredictable Spring Weather - See preparedness tips HERE.
  • 12/10/2015 - Information on Response to Active Shooter Events - The attached resources are provided by the Department of Homeland Security – Office of Health Affairs. 

Zika Virus Information

Bombing Injury Patterns

Ebola Information

Weekly DHMH Public Health Preparedness and Situational Awareness Report

The Weekly DHMH Public Health Preparedness and Situational Awareness Report is posted at THIS ADDRESS.

This report lists the following for all of Maryland and broken down by Maryland regions:

  • Syndromic Surveillance Reports
  • Syndrome Related to Category A Agents
  • Maryland Reportable Disease Surveillance
  • Syndromic Influenza Surveillance
  • Other disease reports 

Drexel University School of Public Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health Website on Primary Care Medical Practices and Public Health Emergency Preparedness 

Contact Information

For more information on Emergency Preparedness, please contact:

Chip O'Neil
Disaster Preparedness Committee, MedChi
Phone: 410-539.0872 or 800-492-1056, ext. 6001
Fax: 410-547-0915