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Guidance for protecting your practice during wildfires

Wildfires are not contained to a single season or region, inflicting devastating damage on homes, businesses and entire communities. If you or your practice are affected by a fire, our dedicated advisors, analysts and team are all readily available to help.

Fire preparation and recovery

If your practice is affected and you are unable to see patients, you can prepare to handle patient emergencies in the following ways:

  • Make arrangements with colleagues in the surrounding area who might be able to accommodate emergency referrals or who are willing to accept a temporary time-sharing arrangement to occupy their office off-hours, so that you can resume at least partial patient care until your office is operational.
  • If referring patients to another colleague, document discussions with patients and the course of action taken, such as prescribing medications, referring to colleagues, advising to go the nearest hospital, etc.
  • If a patient was referred to another colleague, follow up on the status of the referral to determine if the patient was seen and, if so, the services rendered.

If your dental practice is closed due to the wildfires, keep connecting with staff in mind: 

  • Make every effort to stay in touch with all dental team members on a regular basis to keep them informed of any developments such as anticipated length of office closure, recovery and continuity plan.
  • Establish preferred method of communication with staff.
  • Assign a point of contact and/or alternate contact to facilitate staff’s ability to reach their employer and each other.

If you need to practice at a temporary location, stay organized through the change: 

  • Be prepared to provide proof of insurance (professional liability and workers’ compensation coverages) to the practice owner.
  • Discuss office access (key, alarm code), who will have access (assistant, office manager, etc.) and schedule (times/days of the week).
  • Consider arrangement for directing mail deliveries, calls and other communications to the temporary location.
  • Create a list of items such as instruments, charts and any supplies that you may be bringing into the temporary location to ensure that these items are returned to your office at the end of the arrangement.
  • Notify patients of your temporary location via the following signage at your office (if applicable), answering service and phone messages.
  • Alert the local dental society of your temporary location.
  • Update the information on your office’s website and other social media accounts.
  • Contact the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Diversion Control Division, for assistance with relocating your DEA registered address.

If you are aware of a missing staff member or know of a missing patient:

  • Contact the local county fire department or the police.
  • Comply with any request for records as long as the entity or individual requesting the information can verify that they have legal standing to receive the requested information.

Do you have sufficient coverage for emergencies?

Request a free policy review with an agent in your region.