California and Oregon NICU Wildfire Disaster Preparedness Tools

Children (Basel). 2021 Jun 1;8(6):465. doi: 10.3390/children8060465.


The 2020 wildfire season was devastating to the Western United States and affected the region's NICUs. In this study, we ask the question, "what tools/strategies do medical professionals deem as important and most helpful as they are preparing for wildfire disaster response?" It is a follow up to our previous study: Learning from Wildfire Disaster Experience in California NICUs. We reevaluated how California NICUs dealt with the 2020 wildfires and expanded to Oregon and Southwest (SW) Washington NICUs. We conducted a survey with eleven Oregon and SW Washington NICUs about their wildfire evacuation preparedness. We also interviewed two neonatologists about their wildfire disaster experience evacuating their NICU or preparing to evacuate. Our findings suggest there is more work needed to fully prepare NICUs for wildfire disasters. We hope that by bringing light to the strategies used by affected clinicians, we can educate and support future NICU disaster preparedness responses.

Keywords: California; NICU; Oregon; Washington; disaster preparedness; perinatal care; wildfire.