Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response
Within the new millennium, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, large-scale accidents, and other tragic events have heightened the world’s need for emergency preparedness and disaster response.
Occupational therapy’s role in preparation and response to disasters and other emergencies, and in addressing the effects of the abrupt disruption of occupational roles after such an event, has become an area of concern to the profession.
In an effort to meet the needs of a significant number of occupational therapy practitioners who have sought to provide services in the aftermath of 9/11, hurricanes, wildfires, and floods, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation engaged in several projects.
The projects included the development of a concept paper, fact sheets for consumers, listservs as a communication outlet, and increased collaboration with the profession-wide educational efforts of Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), the national honor society for occupational therapy students.
Also, AOTA has worked with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists to address disaster relief through occupational therapy interventions on a broader scale.
Lastly, AOTA convened an ad hoc committee to address the issue of emergency preparedness and disaster response from an occupational therapy perspective, and to integrate this important function throughout the profession. One of the outcomes of this work is this resource library for members to access in their own emergency preparedness and disaster response efforts.