Key Areas of Emergency Preparedness—Are You Ready?
Health care organizations have been addressing risks, threats, and vulnerabilities in emergency preparedness for many years. We have become comfortable with the “process” and realize that known and unknown threats drive planning, training, and exercises. We know that mitigation efforts reduce these known hazards before they occur. We learn from every disaster event, and adapt to what we can do better for the next time. In general, health care is meeting its requirements for licensing and accrediting.
We need to do better…for our staff, patients, residents, and visitors. As we embark on significant preparations for the next wave of this pandemic or prepare for hurricanes, fires, or floods, we have an opportunity to improve emergency preparedness and management in health care. This can be accomplished focusing on several key areas:
- Engage your Emergency Preparedness Committee and ensure the membership captures all aspects of your organization
- Include your committee and external stakeholders in the Hazard Vulnerability Analysis annually
- Develop and publish plans that can be easily implemented and are all-inclusive to the organization
- Educate, Educate, Educate!
- Test those plans frequently and improve from the identified gaps
- Be ready. Always
These may seem like simplistic steps to a complicated process. Repetitive training and exercise help to build success. Coordinated response during crisis situations is a key factor.
For close to ten years, The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) has embraced an emergency management (EM) program, supporting organizations across the commonwealth before, during, and after crisis. HAP’s EM program has evolved during this time to include not only association members but also partners in the health care system.
HAP’s Board of Directors recently reaffirmed its commitment to health care emergency management. Understanding that facilities, health systems, and organizations cannot be successful independently, HAP continues to offer this professional capability through the EM team.
The team’s workplan will consist of a hybrid concept, working in tandem with HAPevolve, HAP’s for-profit subsidiary. The team remains committed to members during immediate crisis response, as we have done for nearly a decade, and has an established emergency response capability to support you. The EM team also will be available to support organizational preparedness and recovery efforts through HAPevolve, providing expertise in emergency preparedness and management across the country.
Current events are necessitating emergency readiness across health care. As your risks and needs change, our team stands ready to support. For more information about HAP’s Emergency Management team and how they can help your organization prepare or crises, contact Scott Mickalonis, HAP’s vice president, emergency management. For information about HAPevolve’s nationwide emergency management program, contact Joe Tibbs, president of HAPevolve.