I typically think about emergency preparedness in the context of electric, gas and water utilities, but I recently took a peek behind the curtain at how hospitals prepare for disasters. And it was eye-opening. There is no doubt, facilities with patients – hospitals, nursing homes, medical clinics, etc. – definitely have a unique set of challenges.
Effective Planning is How Hospitals Prepare for Disasters
There are many aspects of medical industry emergency plans. It’s beyond the scope of this post to go into a lot of detail on them, so I’ll just touch on a couple of examples.
The most important part of any medical facility’s emergency plan is the safety of its patients, and paramount to this is the decision of whether or not to shelter in place or execute a full blown evacuation. Obviously, the preference would be to remain in place, but occasionally there may be a need to evacuate, which presets logistical nightmares in terms of moving not only human beings, but also heavy equipment, medication, medical staff, food and water, among other things.
Another element of an effective medical facility emergency plan is admitting new patients . In general, these facilities can expect to see a substantial increase in “traffic” due to injuries, infections, poisonings, pandemics, riots, and similar outcomes from a natural or manmade disaster. Fighting illness in particular is extremely complex and must be addressed in the emergency plan, because it requires not only the mitigation of existing illnesses, but also the ability to control the spread of the disease.
For more information, read this comprehensive article from Huffington Post. The bottom line is that the medical industry has lots of challenges when it comes to emergency situations. That’s why solid planning is how hospitals prepare for disasters – just like utility companies!