The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) state chapter offices are a key resource in supporting pediatricians who work in a state impacted by a disaster. The AAP offers information on connecting with and becoming a member of the AAP chapter in each state. States are encouraged to identify Chapter Contacts for disaster preparedness and response who can educate chapter members and leadership, promote the pediatrician’s involvement in disaster issues, and coordinate chapter activities in preparedness and response. Every AAP chapter has one or more Chapter Contacts who have agreed to coordinate chapter activities in preparedness and response. Chapters can enhance progress by facilitating discussions between Chapter leaders and Chapter Contacts to determine action steps and priorities for disaster preparedness. Asking for regular reports, offering to publish articles in the chapter newsletter, and including Chapter Contacts in planning for chapter meetings are beneficial. A job description for Chapter Contacts and activity ideas are available. If you are unsure who your Chapter Contact is or want to add an additional contact, e-mail DisasterReady@aap.org.
How to Start
Each AAP Chapter is asked to consider the types of disasters that might impact its geographical region and members and identify priorities for preparedness planning. At a minimum, chapters are asked to:
Connect with Public Health
The AAP chapters and public health emergency planners have a duty to collaborate in pediatric preparedness planning. All states have existing activities, yet not all address issues specific to children. Discussions have shown that pediatricians and public health leaders do not always know each other and are not aware of the expertise, assets, and support the others can bring to emergency readiness. Connecting with state grantees/recipients of federal funding for preparedness is a useful way to leverage existing opportunities and to achieve desired outcomes. Chapters can connect with the Emergency Medical Services for Children, Hospital Preparedness Program, and Public Health Emergency Preparedness grantees to offer expertise and ensure that children are considered in disaster planning.
Develop a Written Plan
The AAP supports business continuity planning, and encourages all chapters to prepare and regularly update a written disaster plan. Chapter leaders need to consider who will develop the plan, what assistance members will need in a disaster, and what contacts should be made with the state department of public health and emergency medical services personnel. The AAP offers a template for chapters and examples of completed chapter plan documents from the Kansas and New Jersey AAP chapter offices. Details for Chapter Executive Directors and support is available from the AAP disaster preparedness and response staff.
Highlight Pediatric Preparedness Resources on Web Sites
Each chapter can include a link from its Web site to the AAP Children and Disasters Web site or infuse the relevant links and resources throughout its site. Chapter leaders can also check to ensure pediatric preparedness is addressed on other sites (e.g., public health, community agencies, hospitals, state medical associations).
Each chapter is encouraged to post details on its disaster preparedness activities online. Examples of chapter activities include:
To highlight or update activities in your state, e-mail DisastersReady@aap.org.