Dentists in Florida, Puerto Rico, North Carolina and South Carolina may have been impacted by Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Ian. Reports of damage, destruction, flooding, power outage and other issues are beginning to reach state dental associations.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by both hurricanes, as well as the first responders and organizations on the ground who are diligently working to assist in the wake of these disasters,” said ADA President Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S. in a message to ADA members. “We are especially thinking of the dental professionals who have been directly affected by these events, some of whom have lost their dental practices and homes, according to one dental society thus far.”
Dr. Sabates is calling for dental professionals to help their colleagues in need.
“Time and time again, our dental community has demonstrated its generous and compassionate spirit in the face of tragedy,” he said. “I saw it come to life in the darkest days of the pandemic, in the historic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and during other disasters in between. Weare more than colleagues — we are a professional family that looks out for each other and is stronger together, especially when times get tough.”
The ADA is in close contact with dental societies in areas affected by the hurricanes, and early reports indicate that not all dental colleagues have experienced the same level of impact. Most of the worst damage is clustered on Florida’s southwestern coast, but other states were also impacted as the storm moved across the eastern coast. Once the full extent of damages is assessed in all the areas impacted by the hurricanes, the need for aid to dentists is likely to increase.
In Florida, Drew Eason, executive director of the Florida Dental Association, said the association has heard from more than 100 Florida dentists whose homes or offices were damaged, flooded or destroyed by Hurricane Ian and helped them apply for grants from the Florida Dental Association Foundation. State and local leaders are making wellness calls and expect to hear from more affected dentists once power and cell phone service have been restored.
Those wanting to help Florida dentists impacted by Hurricane Ian can contribute to the Florida Dental Association Foundation’s Disaster Fund which provides emergency assistance grants for dentists’ immediate personal needs, such as hotels, food, etc. To donate, please click here and select “Disaster Fund” for the first question, call 850.681.3629 or send a check, payable to “FDA Foundation” to: FDA Foundation; Attn: R. Jai Gillum; 545 John Knox Road, Suite 200; Tallahassee, FL 32309.
Dental association contacts in Puerto Rico have not heard of widespread damage to dentists’ homes and dental practices, although news reports say that much of the island is still without power two weeks after the storm made landfall on Sept. 18. Those who want to help dentists in Puerto Rico can mail a donation marked “H. Fiona’s Relief Fund” to the Colegio’s Insurance, Humanitarian Relief and Mutual Assistance Commission (Comision de Seguro, Socorro y Ayuda Mutua) at Comision de Seguro, Socorro y Ayuda Mutua Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas de PR, #200 Domenech Ave., Hato Rey, PR 00918.
North Carolina Dental Society staff report that it has not yet heard from any dentists affected by Hurricane Ian. They have reached out to members in the hardest hit areas, but they have not yet received responses. NCDS has a disaster relief fund but encourages those who want to donate to consider supporting disaster relief funds in harder hit areas currently. More details on the NCDS Foundation relief fund are available online.
The South Carolina Dental Association has not heard from any dentists affected by the hurricane at posting time, but it does have a disaster relief fund that is accepting donations. To donate or to receive more information on disaster relief, contact Deanna Slomzenski by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 803-750-2277.
Dentists in need of disaster assistance should reach out to their state dental association. The ADA has a variety of resources to help dentists with emergency and disaster recovery planning on ADA.org. Resources include several hurricane-related resources and much more.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also has disaster resources available, including Flood Preparedness and Response information and the publication “Principal Emergency Response and Preparedness Requirements and Guidance.”
Watch ADA News and ADA Morning Huddle for updates to this information.