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September 21, 2018

Members ask: How can our hospital prepare for disasters?

Daily Briefing
“Given recent events in the news, we've been taking a second look at our disaster readiness. Can you share tactics or plans on how to be better prepared?”

This has been a common question in light of recent national tragedies and natural disasters, ranging from Hurricane Florence to the Parkland shooting.

Hospitals must be prepared for myriad disasters that can stress health care systems to the breaking point and disrupt delivery of vital health care services. According to CDC, there are six types of public health emergencies:

Our Advisory Board research teams have compiled step-by-step procedures for various threats your facility may encounter—though we hope you'll never need to use them.

In case of natural disasters and mass-casualty events

This sample emergency preparedness plan addresses commonly used terms used in crisis situations and provides a template for evaluating resources. A second emergency preparedness resource describes an appropriate communication plan following requests for patient information during an emergency.

Want to learn how your organization can mitigate the short- and long-term health impacts of a disaster? View our take on the 5 best ways you can prepare.

In case of general crises, including infant abduction and workplace violence

This general crisis plan provides standard communication protocol and media management procedures. A separate policy statement provides a communication plan that can be used following an infant abduction of workplace violence. A third document outlines procedures to be followed in the event of an infant abduction.

In case of bomb threats or radiation exposure

The bomb threat response plan provides a step-by-step guide for action following a bomb threat at a 400-bed, not-for-profit community medical center. Alternately, the radiation exposure plan helps hospitals to prepare to treat patients that may have been exposed to radioactive materials.

In case of utility failure

The utility failure response plan reviews how to temporarily restore medical gas and vacuum, clean water, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services. The IT Strategy Council has also compiled a resource to safeguard electronic systems in the case of a server failure or a flood.

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