• Disaster Planning

    The American Academy of Family Physicians supports planning and preparedness for natural, human-created, and biologic disasters among individuals, the community, and within healthcare settings. The AAFP supports planning for the prevention of potential disasters and the protection of the community from environmental dangers, toxic hazards, and infectious exposures resulting from such events.

    Family physicians should be informed in the appropriate response and management of potential adverse effects on their patients and community from these disasters. Family physicians should also have a thorough understanding of early interventions for disaster response and how to efficiently mobilize local support services. Preemptive planning is one of the most important steps family physicians can take to protect their patients and community. Family physicians should collaborate with local and national public health organizations to create detailed action plans before a disaster occurs and learn how to best educate and empower patients to prepare themselves for potential disasters.

    It is essential for family physicians to understand the ways marginalized communities are often disproportionately affected by disasters for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to socioeconomic status, racial disparities, disability, housing stability, and access to healthcare. It is important for family physicians to leverage their knowledge, skill, and leadership to effectively address these inequities for their patients by partnering with community organizations and public agencies and focusing their efforts in providing safety and care for these populations.

    The AAFP has created a manual titled "Disaster Preparedness" to help family physicians plan for an active disaster, disaster recovery, or disaster prevention. This manual should serve as a starting point for physicians as they actively collaborate with other health care professionals, the community, and public health organizations to develop further plans.

    (1987) (December 2022 BOD)