Emergency preparedness

WSNA is committed to increasing the readiness of nurses to provide nursing care during natural disasters and public health emergencies.

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The Washington State Nurses Association is committed to increasing the readiness of nurses to provide nursing care during natural disasters and public health emergencies. WSNA offers resources to support preparedness and mobilization of nurse responders during emergencies and promotes emergency preparedness for individuals and families.

Washington state geology, geography, and weather patterns create the potential for our state to be affected by a variety of disasters/emergencies (wildfires, windstorms, ice storms, tsunamis, flooding) that are occurring with more frequency. In addition, state, county, and city emergency management agencies actively plan for earthquakes anticipated to strike the Puget Sound area.

This website provides resources and education for registered nurses of Washington state in both personal preparedness and disaster response. Our communities rely on our medical professionals to assist when disasters occur.

Emergency Worker Programs, Protections, and Registration

Established rules and regulations for various classes of emergency workers in the state of Washington including scope of duties, conditions under which workers shall be deemed to be on duty and covered by the provisions of emergency worker registration:

    • RCW 38.52 (38.52.180 includes liability exclusion for those assisting in emergencies and disasters.)
    • WAC 118.04.080 (identifies registration as a prerequisite for eligibility of emergency workers for benefits and legal protection.)

    Anticipating and preparing for emergencies and disasters that may affect you, your family, or community takes time and organization. The following resources are provided to assist you with emergency preparedness:

    Personal Preparedness

    Volunteer as an Emergency Responder

    Organizations in Washington state are affiliated with state and federal emergency response agencies. To volunteer, an on-line account, registration, and completion of training hours are often required.

    • Since 2012, Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers (WAserv) is for citizens willing and able to assist during disasters. WAserv encourages emergency response professionals to pre-register. WAserv communicates with volunteers about preparedness activities and ongoing training opportunities.
    • Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act - Allows individuals with licenses in good standing (issued in another state) to register in the Washington State Registry of Emergency Volunteers (WAserv) and be approved to practice in Washington state while the Governors’ emergency proclamation is in effect. A Washington state license is required once the Governors’ emergency proclamation ends.
    • Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) - A national network of volunteers organized locally to improve the health and safety of communities. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources. Washington currently has 21 Medical Reserve Corps units that are community-based and locally organized. Take time to locate the unit closest to you!
    • The Red Cross actively recruits nurses and medical personnel to participate in Disaster Action Teams and Disaster Health Services Teams.