The Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is in the process of developing a Web site that will warehouse disaster preparedness and response information, as well as volunteer opportunities for all physicians and health care providers. Initially, this site will be linked to the Arkansas Children's Hospital Web site and will be accessible to all state AAP members. Plans are to launch this site in September during disaster preparedness month.
Arkansas coordinates an annual statewide preparedness conference. At the 4th annual conference in 2007, all Arkansas AAP Chapter members were invited. More than 600 individuals attended, including several AAP members.
Children have remained on the radar screen in Louisiana disaster planning. Highlights of those efforts include:
- Ensuring that a pediatric formulary and medical supplies for children are available at all shelters (including those shelters that serve children with special needs).
- Putting a bus triage plan in place along with a system for providing bar-coded wrist bands to help families remain together.
- Initial planning for a public and professional education campaign.
- Use of the Louisiana Volunteers in Action Emergency Volunteer Registry.
- Plan to provide emergency preparedness training volunteers enrolled in the above-mentioned registry.
The New Mexico AAP Chapter disaster preparedness initiatives are integrated with chapter activities on emergency medicine. Dr Sapien is a member of the national AAP Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine and is active in the New Mexico Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program. The EMSC Program advocates for children on an ongoing basis with respect to education, emergency care, preparedness, and prevention efforts. The program also develops and conducts educational sessions and disseminates materials on pediatric emergency topics. In June 2007, a dedicated Pediatric Emergency Department was opened at University Hospital. The physician staff consists of 7 pediatric emergency physicians and several general emergency medicine physicians.
Program representatives serve on several committees of the New Mexico Department of Health (Trauma Advisory Committee, EMS Advisory Committee, and EMS Medical Direction) to ensure that children's issues are integrated into these efforts. The New Mexico Department of Health has also established the Health Alert e-mail system for health care providers. This is a quick way to send out notifications of public health situations statewide.
New Mexico EMS for Children (EMSC) has released two new online modules: "Safe Transport of Children in EMS Vehicles Part 1 and Part 2
." The modules address the specific issues, concerns, recommendations, and guidelines to improve current practice regarding the safe transport of pediatric patients in emergency vehicles. New Mexico Family Representative Chad Kim, NREMT-P, guides the audience through a series of videos that include panel discussion and several re-enacted scenarios while also providing his experience and expertise as he addresses the real challenges EMS providers encounter in the field. The panel discussion led by Dr Sapien provides an in-depth discussion of the specific issues and concerns. The expert panel also makes recommendations for improved practice, preparedness, and injury prevention. These modules have been created based on the available National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines.
The Oklahoma Chapter of the AAP has an approved Chapter Disaster Plan. A Pediatric Disaster Mental Health Initiative was held in 2013. A series of Pediatric Disaster Mental Health Initiative
conference videos are available that introduce a training program that teaches pediatricians how to identify mental health issues in children affected by natural disasters such as tornadoes. These efforts were inspired by the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma in 2015.Participants receive instruction on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other mental health issues in young patients following a disaster. The Oklahoma Chapter of the AAP had 2 representatives from the Board that attended the AAP/ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pediatric and Public Health Tabletop Exercise
. These representatives remain in contact with the AAP's Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council
and the CDC Children's Preparedness Unit
A subcommittee has reviewed a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis of the facility and transport capabilities in the state. A Pediatric Disaster Coalition has been meeting since the beginning of last year. The group is comprised of representatives from the pediatric designated facilities and pediatric transport teams within FEMA Region VI. Other facilities within Texas that have pediatric capability have been asked to participate as well. This group meets about once a month and initial efforts focus on preparing for another hurricane by determining guidelines/strategies for evacuating pediatric hospital patients. In April 2011, a state team attended the AAP/CDC Enhancing Pediatric Partnerships to Promote Pandemic Preparedness Meeting
and developed a Texas State Action Plan.
The Governor's EMS and Trauma Advisory Council (GETAC) established a Disaster Task Force for hurricane evacuation issues. These efforts led to the development of a group that could address the pediatric-specific issues in a disaster situation. Lori Upton at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston currently oversees these efforts.