Dentists: Critical aspects of their own and their community’s disaster preparedness plan
Keywords:bioterrorism, disaster preparedness, disaster response, preparedness curriculum, situational awareness
The weather-related disasters in 2017 in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the 2017-2018 wildfire seasons in California and Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018 have challenged all healthcare professionals, to have plans in place to protect their facility, patients, and staff from all possible hazards. These were “slowly developing” events, with enormous media coverage, and yet the results were still horrific. The need to have both a good evacuation plan and a good shelter-in-place plan has previously been dramatically demonstrated. When planning for disasters, it is critical for healthcare providers to understand the nature of a particular event and its possible consequences. When the concern arises about either an individual medical facility, or a whole community’s well-being, a proper response requires significant levels of preparedness, education, and training. Comprehension of the threat and an understanding of the resources available to combat an event can significantly mitigate the possible damage. This article reviews a dental school curriculum to prepare students to respond to such contingencies while describing the goals, and sources for a disaster preparedness syllabus.
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