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Emergencies come in all types and in all levels of intensity. The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark example of a global crisis that, while leaving physical structures whole, impacts the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Natural disasters, on the other hand, can result in not only injury, illness, and death on the local level, but also can cause damage to homes, offices, clinics, hospitals, and other facilities, along with business and patient medical records.

Here are six informative resources on preparing for and responding to emergencies. Most are a part of our Emergency Preparedness webpage.

1. Preparing for Disasters and Emergencies: Information You Can Use

We offer up important resources — one from CMS, one from FEMA, and a third from the Americans with Disabilities Act National Network — that can help you keep up with requirements, develop a business continuity plan, and prepare for emergency responses for people with disabilities.

2. The Role of the PT and PTA in Disaster Management

This downloadable APTA resource reinforces the role of PTs and PTAs in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and includes do's and don'ts as well as a discussion of essential clinical skills.

3. Important but Underused: PTs, PTAs, and Disaster Response

This APTA Magazine feature from 2019 focuses on the challenge of educating other providers on how PT and PTA services can be an important component to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

4. Exploring the HHS Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Gateway

The Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Information Gateway was created to meet the information and technical assistance needs of health care entities, health care providers, and others working in disaster medicine, health care system preparedness, and public health emergency preparedness. Our webpage about the gateway walks you through the highlights.

5. Disaster Management From a Global Perspective

World Physiotherapy, formerly the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, offers a webpage focused on the role of the PT and PTA in disaster management around the world. Resources include a report on the potential for physical therapy in disaster management, a link to organizations that accept donations of physical therapy equipment, and information on World Physiotherapy's advocacy for humanitarian support.

6. The role of the PT and PTA in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

This recorded presentation from early March 2021 is part of the series Healthcare Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic, created by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Developed by ASPR and APTA, this presentation brings together experts from Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center to take a closer look at how the training and skills of PTs and PTAs can be leveraged in disaster response. Presenters use real-world examples from the COVID-19 pandemic to explore the issue. (Note: The recording is free but does require sign-in).


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Preparing for the Next Emergency: What the Profession Needs To Know

Mar 23, 2021

APTA's Centennial Lecture Series launches on March 26 with an exploration of how the profession can get ready for the inevitable.


Important but Underused: PTs, PTAs, and Disaster Response

Oct 1, 2019

PTs and PTAs have much to offer patients and health care teams before, during, and after disasters. Part of the challenge, however, is educating other

Open Access

Preparing for Disasters or Emergencies: Information You Can Use

Jul 31, 2019

These resources cover different aspects of disaster planning and management that can help you prepare for and get through an emergency.