Texas Health and Human Services / Texas Health Steps

Disaster Preparedness: How Can You Prepare to Survive and Recover?

Infants, children and adolescents have unique needs that must be considered in disaster management efforts. Pediatricians and others who may care for children have key roles to play in disaster preparedness, response and recovery to ensure these unique needs are met.

American Academy of Pediatrics (2022)

Disasters include natural events such as storms, floods and wildfires as well as disease outbreaks. They can occur in any part of Texas, with or without notice, and can be localized or widespread.

Texas Health Steps providers and other health-care professionals can help their patients and themselves by planning and preparing before a disaster occurs. Health-care providers are a trusted source of information and education for patients and their families, and they also have a duty to prepare their office and staff to respond to a disaster.

The Texas Department of State Health Services offers the Texas Ready website, an all-inclusive resource for household disaster preparedness with online tools and tips that can be shared with families.

Health-care providers must prepare to survive, too. The American Academy of Pediatrics publishes resources to help pediatric practices be ready for disasters, including:

Which of the following steps are recommended to prepare your medical practice to address common forms of disasters?

Develop a communication plan for your staff so workers can stay in touch, know who will work remotely or in the office, implement telemedicine options if available and necessary, and relay updates about patient needs.

Develop a communication plan for your patients so you can reassure them that “everything is okay.”

Organize and manage your practice to be resilient and secure by backing up computers, protecting medical records and properly storing medications, especially ones that require refrigeration.

Coordinate and communicate with local and national emergency response services to stay informed, seek resources and get assistance with recovery.

Why it matters

Research shows that primary care providers who raise and discuss the topic of disaster planning with families can motivate them to prepare for a disaster. By discussing disaster preparedness during Texas Health Steps preventive medical checkups and other medical visits, providers can normalize disaster preparation and help families stay safe and healthy in emergencies.

Explore More

Disaster Preparedness: What Texas Health Steps Providers Should Know (Quick Course)

References

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2023). Disasters and Children.

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2021). Pediatric Preparedness Resource Kit.

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013). Preparedness Checklist for Pediatric Practices.

Texas Department of State Health Services. (n.d.). Texas Ready.