MedlinePlus – Disasters

This MedlinePlus page focuses on disaster preparation, helping readers learn about, prepare for, and cope with exposure to bioterrorism, chemical spilles, radiation, and natural disasters. The materials here are recommended for their crucial information for those who want to prepare for natural or human-induced disasters.

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Review Date: 11/8/2018


Ease of Use

This section of MedlinePlus is just an alphabetical list of many types of disasters/exposures and how to respond to them. Clicking any one of the 14 listed here leads to a page with a brief summary as well as numerous links to additional information. It requires users to constantly jump back and forth between websites, but otherwise all the relevant material is contained to this one page of resources.

Visual Design

The landing page only provides a list of topics. No images or multimedia to engage the reader. And the material is not organized aside from alphabetically, whereas topic headings would benefit the visual appearance. MedlinePlus already features a dull graphic design; this page brings the quality down even more.


This is critical information for citizens faced with natural or human-created disasters and exposures. The materials assembled here comes from a wide variety of sources, most of them from high quality perspectives. Not all pages are fleshed out with the same depth. But they do appear to be high quality, reliable sources of information.


MedlinePlus clearly identifies the organizations responsible for the content, which include the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Department of Homeland Security, American Red Cross, and Environmental Protection Agency. Users will find that the medical encyclopedia topics have the highest reliability, as they list the names of medical reviewers and date of last review. However, the currency of web pages linked on MedlinePlus vary, and individual authors and editors are only occasionally credited on the linked sites.


  1. Covers exposures to bioterrorism, wildfires, winter emergencies, and natural disasters, such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and tornadoes
  2. Essential information to prepare for, respond to, and recover from any disaster or exposure
  3. Highly credible website with backing from the U.S. government and relying on materials generated by authoritative organizations


  1. User-friendliness of materials vary depending on the external website linked
  2. Users will have to spend significant time navigating and reading in order to get helpful information


Sponsors / Affiliations: The U.S. National Library of Medicine

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Patient handouts, videos, images, relevant journal articles, medical encyclopedia

Languages: English, Spanish