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National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month: "Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today"

National Preparedness Month is an annual campaign to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies and disasters. This effort is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen's Corp. This September marks the twelfth annual National Preparedness Month, and this year's theme is "Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today". The FEMA urges people to prepare for specific threats such as a flood, wildfire, hurricane, and power outage, and to get involved in National PrepareAthon! Day (September 30th). See the 2015 Presidential Proclamation recognizing September as National Preparedness Month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response is actively engaged in preparedness initiatives and focuses on the following weekly theme areas: family, neighborhood, workplace and school, global, and online. Also see the CDC Caring for Children in a Disaster Web page.

AAP Call to Action

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asks members to take specific action to promote pediatric emergency readiness during September. Select ideas follow:

Communicate with Others and Enhance Influenza Prevention and Control

  • Get your annual flu shot and encourage others to do the same! See the revised AAP policy Recommendation for Mandatory Influenza Immunization of All Health Care Personnel.
  • Arrange to identify and talk with parents of children at highest risk of influenza complications (eg, those with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes mellitus, hemodynamically significant cardiac disease, immunosuppression, or neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders). Make sure these children get vaccinated as soon as vaccine is available and that parents have a plan for prompt antiviral treatment when the child has symptoms of influenza-like illness. Three-way communication among the parents, primary care provider, and specialist might prove beneficial!
  • Do not delay antiviral treatment while waiting for a definitive influenza test result. Early therapy provides the best outcomes, as the benefit of antiviral treatment is greatest when initiated within 48 hours of symptom onset. The AAP endorsed a CDC letter to clinicians recommending this approach.
  • Promote influenza vaccine use and infection control measures. Review the recent AAP policy Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2015-2016, or participate in the CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity pediatric-focused influenza prevention and control webinar on October 1, 2015, at 2:00pm ET. To be included on a calendar appointment for this webinar, e-mail
  • Refer families to and share with families the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) 2-minute animated video highlighting the importance of immunization for the entire family.

Improve Personal Preparedness Planning

Emergency Preparedness Stories

The AAP and the CDC collected the following stories that highlight lessons learned or steps that doctors or families can take to improve disaster preparedness for children.

Share your story illustrating a success in addressing the needs of children in a disaster situation. E-mail for details.