EMS and Disaster Preparedness

National Preparedness Month is an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. The 2021 theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.” 

2021 National Preparedness Month Sept.jpg

Until Help Arrives
Until Help Arrives Top Pic
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is excited to help announce the Until Help Arrives program, which was developed to educate and empower the public to take action and provide lifesaving care before professional help arrives.  We hope that you will find this information helpful in preparing to act when the need arises.

The Until Help Arrives program encourages the public to take these five steps in situations where someone may have a life-threatening injury due to trauma:

  • Call 9-1-1 
  • Protect the injured from harm
  • Stop bleeding
  • Position people so they can breathe
  • Provide comfort

You can find more information on the Until Help Arrives program.

Resources on Hospital Evacuation, Shelter-in-place, and Patient Surge
ASPR National Healthcare Preparedness Programs (NHPP)

ASPR Health Care Readiness Programs webpages

ASPR Health Care Readiness Portfolio and how they have strengthened the preparedness and response capabilities of the U.S. health care system in 2020.

ASPR 2020 HPP Recipient Fact Sheets feature key information on each of the 62 HPP Annual Cooperative Agreement recipients, including trends in HPP funding, spotlights on preparedness and/or response, and highlights from their COVID-19 response activities.

ASPR Health Care Readiness Programs Fact Sheets The NHPP Branch has created a variety of fact sheets with overview information on the overall ASPR Health Care Readiness Programs Portfolio and its various core programs and activities:

ASPR HPP Overview Video overview of the HPP and how it has established a foundation for national health care preparedness.

ASPR NSPS Overview Video overview of the history of the NSPS and how its core activities have supported health care entities across the nation during the COVID-19 response.

AHRQ resources on hospital evacuation, shelter-in-place, and patient surge

California Hospital Association resources for hospital evacuation, shelter-in-place, and repopulation 

FEMA video on techniques hospitals can use to prepare for hurricanes 

Florida Department of Health resources for catastrophic planning, hospital surge and mass casualty

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control resources on disaster preparedness for health care facilities

Hospital evacuation course PowerPoint slides 

Hospital evacuation plan template  

Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy and Recommendations for Improved Healthcare and Public Health Response and Recovery for Future Catastrophic Events. 

Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy (PDF)

Disaster Planning Toolkit for the Elderly and Special Needs Persons with Guidelines for Making a Checklist to be Prepared and Allow Healthcare Providers Access to the Patients Healthcare Needs During a Disaster.
Disaster Planning Toolkit for Special Needs Person (PDF)

When tragedies occur, members, non-members and other organizations need help to determine action needed to assist in disaster relief.
Disaster and Volunteering Resources (PDF)

Whether they are the result of an act of terrorism, an accident, or a natural disaster, mass casualty events require certain preparedness and response by health professionals.


Download NDLSF PDF

Active Shooter and Complex Attack Resources 
New information and resources on the planning and response to active shooter events from the Department of Homeland Security-Office of Health Affairs.

Guidelines for responding to active shooter incidents
ACEP joined with several other national organizations to develop guidelines for responding to and treating victims from active shooter incidents.

ACEP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer resources that may help local or state health officials prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the health effects of bombings and other mass casualty events. They also have information for health professionals about treating injuries and stress in patients affected by mass casualty events.

Hospital Disaster Preparedness Self-Assessment Tool
This DHS/FEMA funded project is a self-assessment that helps hospitals review and plan for any disaster using the all-hazards approach.

In A Moment’s Notice: Surge Capacity for Terrorist Bombings 
This CDC-funded project contains 10 templates that help EMS and various hospital departments prepare for the patient surge from bombings.

Bombings: Injury Patterns and Care 
The project – which includes fact sheets, webinars, powerpoint presentations, podcasts, and other downloads – presents the minimum content that should be included in any all-hazards disaster response training program.

Other CDC Resources

Data Collection and Planning Tools

Coping with Trauma

The effects of a disaster, terrorist attack, or other public health emergencies can be long-lasting, and the resulting trauma can affect those not directly impacted by the disaster. CDC’s Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event webpage, lists resources that provide general strategies for promoting mental health and resilience. These materials were developed by various organizations on the basis of experiences in prior emergencies.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Resources

The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline, provides 24/7, year-round crisis counseling and support for persons experiencing signs of distress as a result of disaster:

  • Call 1-800-985-5990
  • Call TTY for deaf/hearing impaired 1-800-846-8517
  • Text TalkWithUs to 66746

SAMHSA has additional resources on dealing with disaster at the SAMHSA website.

ACEP does not coordinate physician relief efforts. However, we do offer guidance for health care professionals interested in assisting disaster medical response.

EMS Week 2019

EMS Week for 2019 will be May 19 - 25 and Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Day is May 22.
For more information, please visit the EMS Week page and "like" the National EMS Week Facebook page.

ACEP EMS Department Committees

ACEP EMS Department Sections


 EMS 4 Stroke

Stroke Education for EMS Professionals

ACEP, the National Stroke Association, and Genentech have partnered to develop a FREE stroke education course for EMS professionals. The course covers the basics of stroke, pre‐hospital assessment, stroke systems of care, and case studies.
EMS educators may also download the slides and use them in their EMS education.

Access the course today.

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