September: National Preparedness Month
If there was an emergency in your local area right now, would you be ready? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) want you to focus on being ready for anything at anytime – and that’s what September is all about. 2014 is the 11th year for the National Preparedness Month – sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Helping the Public
As a pharmacist, you are in touch with many members of the community every day. You can help support the efforts in a number of ways. Besides building a kit of your own with enough food, water, and supplies to last 72 hours, you can play an important role in the community to encourage others to do the same. Display information throughout the pharmacy to help customers learn more about preparing for disaster. The CDC has resources available to help you.
If customers have questions about emergency preparedness, be sure you can answer them, or point them in the right direction. Make sure your customers know they need to have basic first aid supplies, as well as enough medication to get them through an emergency situation.
Disaster can strike at anytime – whether you’re at home or at work. Businesses should also be prepared for disaster to hit, and you can help ensure your pharmacy or hospital is always ready should disaster hit.
There should be an entire preparedness program in place for your pharmacy. If your pharmacy is part of a hospital, you’ll likely have a separate emergency preparedness plan for healthcare facilities.
Your program should include:
- Resource management
- Emergency response
- Crisis communications
- Business continuity
- Information technology
- Employee assistance
- Incident management
The plan should be tested and evaluated. If the test and evaluation reveals issues, go back to the planning stage and see what can be done to fix the issues in the plan. Test and evaluate again, and again, until all the employees at the pharmacy are familiar with and understand the plan.
Review and Test Your Current Plan
If there is already a plan in place, make sure you and your coworkers are familiar with it. Use this month to bring awareness to the plan. Review and test it to make sure it is still applicable and will work in the event of an emergency. If improvements need to be made to bring the program up to date, have a meeting to discuss how those changes can be made and implemented.
Use social media tools and videos available from Ready.gov on your pharmacy’s website and social media profiles so you can reach customers who don’t visit your pharmacy in person. These tools are available year round, but focus on them this month to coordinate with other community and national awareness efforts.