Tip of the week: Communication methods during an emergency go beyond satellite phones and text messaging

Hospital Safety Insider, February 25, 2009

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You often hear about the need to have redundant communication strategies for a community catastrophe, with the idea that regular and cell phone service may go down quickly. It’s important to think broadly in this regard and not trap yourself in a mindset of limited options.
See how many of these methods your emergency operations plan includes for backup communication:
  • Basic telephone systems
  • In-building wireless phone systems
  • Overhead announcement and paging systems
  • Nurse call system
  • Voice over Internet Protocol systems
  • Cell phones
  • Beepers and pocket pagers
  • Enterprise systems
  • BlackBerries and similar devices
  • Text messaging
  • Text-to-voice translation
  • Communication systems for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Telephonic translation lines and services
  • Access control systems
  • Fax machines
  • Hospital television network systems
  • E-mail
  • Mass notification systems
  • Hospital electronic bulletin boards
  • Intranet message posting
  • Bed-tracking and facility status reporting systems
  • Electronic health record systems
  • Enterprise systems for networked hospitals
  • Resource and grant-asset tracking systems
  • Evacuee and disaster patient tracking systems
  • Emergency medical services communication systems
  • Emergency desktop and mobile handheld programmed radios
  • Communication with emergency operations centers
  • Public health monitoring and notification systems (syndromic surveillance systems, threat notification systems, outbreak management systems)
  • Satellite radio and communication systems
  • Ham radio systems
  • Human runners (the low-tech communication system if all else fails)
This tip comes from HCPro’s book, Emergency Management Coordinator’s Handbook for Hospitals.

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