Climate change increases the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, flooding, heat waves, and wildfires. As the 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change outlines, these events pose grave threats to both health and health systems. Thoughtful and proactive preparation of our hospital systems will improve health and save lives in this new reality.
Health systems face significant challenges as extreme weather events can impact health care delivery and access by disrupting infrastructure, including utilities, transportation, and communication systems, critical to maintaining access to emergency services and health care. Hospital supply chains may also be disrupted, leading to shortages of essential pharmaceuticals and medical devices. These threat multipliers necessitate cautious and holistic planning to ensure we can always serve our communities.
In this session, emergency physicians – leaders in climate change and health, disaster response, and health care system resilience – will use data and real life examples to demonstrate the critical need for every emergency department and health care institution to be climate-ready and able to maintain access to high quality clinical care during extreme weather events.