Safety

Emergency Management Tip: Local facilities could share cold storage

Emergency Management Alert, March 2, 2010

Joint Commission emergency management standard EM.02.02.11, element of performance (EP) 7, requires hospitals to plan for managing mortuary services during a disaster, particularly should an incident escalate within the community.

Although the United States may never see a death toll approaching that from Haiti’s earthquake, even several hundred deaths in a community would overrun most morgues. Beyond refrigeration trucks, there are several other good choices for temporarily storing mass fatalities.

Beverage and beer distributors, cold storage warehouses, refrigerated rail cars, and mortuary emergency cooling systems (also called MERC units) are all worth investigating in your community, says John B. Linstrom, MIFireE, CHS-III, executive director at The Linco Group, LLC, an emergency management consulting firm in Apple Valley, CA.

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