Disaster and Emergency Resources

The Society of Critical Care Medicine is poised to respond to natural and manmade disasters and emergencies by providing a variety of resources to the critical care community.

During disaster events, this site provides resources related to specific volunteer opportunities, complimentary Fundamental Disaster Management chapters, and relevant links to external organizations and institutions, as well as continuous updates from the Society and its members.

Zika Virus

Zika virus disease is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

On Feb. 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern. Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories. Zika virus likely will continue to spread to new areas.

The Society of Critical Care Medicine is monitoring developments related to the Zika virus and will continue to keep the critical care community informed.

External Resources:

CDC – Dedicated Zika Virus Informational Page
WHO - Dedicated Zika Virus Informational Page

Severe  Influenza Associated Critical Illness Prompts CDC Health Advisory

Influenza activity is increasing across the country and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received reports of severe influenza illness.

Since October 2015, the CDC has detected co-circulation of influenza A(H3N2), A(H1N1)pdm09, and influenza B viruses. However, H1N1pdm09 viruses have predominated in recent weeks. The CDC has issued a Health Advisory urging rapid antiviral treatment of very ill and high risk suspect influenza patients without waiting for testing,

The CDC has received recent reports of severe respiratory illness among young- to middle-aged adults with H1N1pdm09 virus infection, some of whom required intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Fatalities have been reported. Some of these patients reportedly tested negative for influenza by RIDT; their influenza diagnosis was made later with molecular assays. Most of these patients were reportedly unvaccinated. H1N1pdm09 virus infection in the past has caused severe illness in some children and young- and middle-aged adults.

In response to these cluster of cases, mostly reported in Arizona, the U.S. Clinical Illness and Injury Trials Group has published a comprehensive review of the salient epidemiologic, diagnostic and therapeutic features that have been learned from the experience with influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus infection in adults.

Clinicians should continue efforts to vaccinate patients this season for as long as influenza viruses are circulating, and promptly start antiviral treatment of severely ill and high-risk patients if influenza is suspected or confirmed.​

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​Most influenza seasons peak nationally in the United States during January through March. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received reports of critical illness and deaths in the U.S. associated with influenza this season, but national severity indicators are not elevated at this time.

Influenza A(H3N2), A(H1N1)pdm09, and influenza B viruses have all been detected in the U.S. this season, and influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses have predominated in recent weeks. The H1N1pdm09 virus is the same virus that emerged in 2009 to cause an influenza pandemic; this virus has continued to circulate as a seasonal influenza A virus and has caused moderately severe influenza epidemics, including during 2013-2014.

Laboratory data indicate that circulating influenza A and B viruses are similar to the virus strains included in available 2015-2016 influenza vaccines, and there are no reports of resistance to the approved neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral medications, oral oseltamivir, intravenous peramivir and inhaled zanamivir. Influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older in the United States., and it is not too late to get influenza vaccination.

External Resources

U.S. influenza surveillance weekly reports:

The World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM)  is a non-operational, non-governmental, multidisciplinary organization whose mission is the global improvement of pre-hospital and emergency health care, public health, and disaster health and preparedness.

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
APIC's site provides information related to  infection prevention.
Pandemic Flu Information
Federal government Website with influenza information.
The map displays outbreaks, cases, and deaths from viral and bacterial diseases worldwide.

iCritical Care Podcasts

SCCM Pod-106 Discussion of H1N1 Influenza - Part I  
Randy S. Wax, MD, discusses the current outbreak of H1N1 Influenza, the triage protocol for critical care during an influenza epidemic, the public's role in taking necessary precautions, and educational resources that are available. The background materials cited in this podcast can be found online at Christian MD, Hawryluck L, Wax RS et al. Development of a triage protocol for critical care during an influenza pandemic. CMAJ. 2006;175;1377-1381 and the International Society for Infectious Diseases. Wax is an intensivist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. He has multiple areas of expertise, including disaster management. This podcast is the first in a series focused on the H1N1 Influenza outbreak. 

SCCM Pod-107 Discussion of H1N1 Influenza - Part II 
John H. Beigel, MD, clarifies the definition of influenza and discusses the evolution of viruses, speculation on the mode of transmission and the role of vaccines and therapies as they relate to H1N1 Influenza. The conversation references his recent publication in Critical Care Medicine (Beigel JH. Influenza. Crit Care Med. 2008; 36:2660-2666). Beigel is Director of Clinical Research at MacroGenics, Inc. in Rockville, Maryland, and a volunteer consultant at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. This podcast is the second in a series focused on the H1N1 Influenza outbreak.  

SCCM Pod-108 Discussion of H1N1 Influenza - Part III 
Naomi O'Grady, MD clarifies the strain of the current virus, discusses the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic, and outlines the prescription therapies available specific to H1N1 Influenza. O'Grady is a senior staff physician in the Clinical Center's Critical Care Medicine Department and the medical director of the department's Vascular Access and Conscious Sedation Services at the National Institutes of Health. She also is an attending physician with the Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Department of the Children's National Medical Center and an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine's Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. This podcast is the third in a series focused on the H1N1 Influenza outbreak.


Treating Lethal Infectious Disease in the ICU
Lewis A. Rubinson, MD, PhD
Medical Director
Critical Care Resuscitation Unit
R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
Baltimore, Maryland, USA




​Ebola virus disease is a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90%. It is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care.

During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients.

The Society of Critical Care Medicine is monitoring the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa and will continue to keep the critical care community informed. SCCM has made the following two resources available from its Fundamental Disaster Management textbook:

SCCM Pod-242 Preparing for Emerging Infections
In this informative iCritical Care podcast, SCCM President-Elect Craig M. Coopersmith, MD, FCCM, and Jay Varkey, MD, discuss the Ebola epidemic and how clinicians should be preparing for emerging infections.

New Ebola Guidelines for Emergency Departments - CDC

Baylor Scott & White Health Ebola Protocols

Hospital Checklist for Ebola Preparedness

World Health Organization
Global Alert and Response - Ebola virus disease

New England Journal of Medicine
Ebola Outbreak - A collection of clinical reports, management guidelines, and commentary on the Ebola outbreak

World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine
Key Point Summary for Critical Care Professionals

  • ANYONE receiving a patient in the ICU setting suspected to have come from Africa should be vigilant for viral hemorrhagic fever until proven otherwise.
  • The footprint of the Ebola epidemic continues to expand and now includes Nigeria. A medical response unit which was set up in Liberia has now been seriously compromised with the infection of its American medical director and an American aid worker. There are other reports of infection in international aid workers is a strong possibility.
  • The security situation is deteriorating rapidly, with a particular focus on Sierra Leone and Liberia. Should Lagos, Nigeria report more cases, maximal disruption and deterioration of security is expected there as well.
  • The core issue in the involved West African countries is failure to engage the public in proactive education. While there are signs of improvement in Liberia and Sierra Leone, there is significant ongoing disruption with gross signs of containment failure in international response organization-run clinics.
  • NONE of the signature patterns are unusual for Ebola based on every known outbreak in Africa dating back to 1994. The difference now is a continued loss of containment due to poor governance, lack of infrastructure, and most important, very low education in these countries.
  • It is unlikely that transmission, infection and fatalities will cease any time in the near future until the indigenous populations cooperate with local and international public health officials. This includes infection and fatalities among indigenous and international responder healthcare staff.
  • What this means for the critical care community is an ever-increasing probability of translocation by air flight given the number of urban areas involved with France being particularly exposed. Vigilance in the emergency department, inpatient, and intensive care settings is strongly recommended.


​For general information about disaster preparedness, learn more about the Society's Fundamental Disaster Management (FDM) program.
Visit LearnICU.org/Disaster for additional disaster resources including these FDM sample chapters:
Intensive Care Unit Microcosm Within Disaster Medical Response
Disaster Preparation for the Critical Care Provider-Setting the Stage
What Matters?: The Role of an ICU During Disaster

iCritical Care Podcasts

SCCM Pod-173 PCCM: Pediatric Lessons from Haiti Earthquake 
Ericka L. Fink, MD, discusses her latest article published in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, titled "Intensive Care for Infants and Children in Haiti in April 2010." Fink is an assistant professor of pediatric critical care medicine at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Scientist at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

SCCM Pod-122 Disaster Management in Haiti
Barbara McLean, ACNP, CCNS-NP, a nurse from Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia, discusses her recent volunteer efforts in Haiti following the January 12, 2010, earthquake that devastated the area. McLean discusses general disaster management strategies as well as patient populations and care challenges specific to the event.

 Volunteer Opportunities

American Red Cross
Connect with your local chapter of the American Red Cross.

Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals
Be ready for a disaster by participating in this national network of state-based registry that will licenses and credentials before a disaster happens.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Learn about opportunities to get involved and help those in other countries.

Medical Reserve Corps
Join a national network of healthcare volunteers for emergency situations on a community level.
Learn about opportunities to get involved and build capacity for first responders.

 eCommunity Discussion

eCommunity Discussion


 External Resources


Federal Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC offers detailed information related to biological and chemical threats, as well as radiological emergencies. Resources include:

  • Guidance for travelers about potential health hazards and steps they can take to protect themselves. 
  • Information on how healthcare professionals can respond to all hazards.
  • A guide for healthcare professionals on emergency planning.

Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA)
SCCM is a member of COCA; this site contains many resources for COCA members, including conference call dates and updates, listing of all members and training updates.

FEMA provides a guide on disaster survival techniques and disaster-specific information and tips for preparation and response to both natural and manmade disasters.

Along with other disaster preparedness information for businesses and residents, this website answers such questions as How quickly can a company get back to business after a terrorist attack, tornado, fire or flood?

Public Health Emergency
This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services site includes information relating to federal health, medical- and health-related social services and recovery to major emergencies and federally declared disasters.

International Resources

World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM)
The WADEM has an international focus and offers a journal, an annual conference, and other educational materials.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world's largest humanitarian organization. It provides assistance to almost every country in the world

Extracorporeal Life Support Organization
The Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) is an international consortium of health care professionals and scientists who are dedicated to the development and evaluation of novel therapies for support of failing organ systems. Crucial is the promotion of a broad multidisciplinary collaboration. The primary mission of the Organization is to maintain a registry of, at least, use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in active ELSO centers. As appropriate, registries of other novel forms of organ system support are within the purview of ELSO. Registry data is to be used to support clinical research, support regulatory agencies, and support individual ELSO centers. ELSO provides educational programs for active centers as well as for the broader medical and lay communities.

Additional Resources

Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response
The American Medical Association provides resources related to terrorism, including current news stories, AMA publications, and resources for healthcare providers. In addition, some links to federal government sites are available.

Bioterrorism and Disaster Preparedness
The American College of Physicians provides a list of bioterrorism information, including diagnosis, treatment, and vaccinations. Also included is information related to the psychological aspects of terrorism.

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
Provides links to bioterrorism resources that includes detailed information about specific agents, preparation for incidents of terrorism, and links to educational sources related to bioterrorism. Also included is information related to vaccinations.

Avian Flu Talk 
Avian Flu Talk has organized the largest and most active bird flu discussion forum in the world. People from around the world are joining the forum to share global flu news and discuss ways to fight the imminent super flu pandemic.