Safety

Planning your emergency drill

Hospital Safety Insider, July 16, 2015

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Hospital Safety Insider!

One of your most crucial roles as the person in charge of emergency preparation at your hospital is going to be testing the prep work that you and your staff have put in to make sure you are ready for a worst-case scenario, should it happen.

But it's not quite that easy. While you may know that the Joint Commission and CMS require two major drills per year that test your facility's readiness in an emergency, actually putting together a drill that has purpose, tests scenarios likely to occur at your hospital, has support from administration that may not always put security first, and shows measurable results requires much more planning than you think.

"It's very difficult to say, 'Hey, next month we want to do a full scale exercise' to ensure all the pieces are properly put into place," says Tracy Buchman, DHA, CHPA, CHSP, national director of emergency management for HSS Inc., a Denver, Colorado-based company that provides emergency management training, facilitation, and subject matter expertise for hospitals and healthcare providers throughout the United States. "You're not going to leave yourself with a very successful overall outcome."

Buchman and her colleague, Christopher Sonne, CHEC, assistant director of HSS' EM Solutions Program, spoke in April on an HCPro webcast, "Emergency Planning: Conducting an Effective Preparedness Exercise."

During the program, participants learned firsthand experience about how to properly plan for and prepare an emergency exercise that will both satisfy Joint Commission and CMS requirements, and also produce lessons that can help staff learn from their mistakes, which inevitably will happen.

"All too often, we look to kind of curtail individuals who like to develop what we call an awesome scenario where you have the 747 crashing into the bus of hemophiliacs that then rolls over into the tanker car of methyl/ethyl gas," says Sonne, adding that bigger scenarios are not always better. "Yes, that is an awesome scenario. I have no idea what objectives you're looking to accomplish within that scenario. People think that's what gets buy-in by having those awesome apocalyptic scenarios that are really going to test us but at the end of the day you're setting yourself up for failure."

So if it's not the apocalypse that you're getting your facility ready for, what should you be getting ready for, and how do you do it the right way? Buchman and Sonne give a lot of takeaways for hospital security professionals to consider when planning their drills.

This is an excerpt from an article in Briefings on Hospital Safety. Visit here to log in or subscribe.



Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Hospital Safety Insider!

    Hospital Safety Center
  • Hospital Safety Center

    Improve compliance with hospital safety standards from The Joint Commission, OSHA, and other regulators with this...

  • Healthcare Life Safety Compliance

    Created exclusively for healthcare facility managers, plant operations professionals, and directors of engineering, this...

  • Hospital Safety Insider

    Stay on top of hospital safety requirements and best practices with our free, fast-paced weekly update.

  • Basic OSHA Compliance Manual Kit

    Total compliance has never been easier. This one convenient package contains everything you need to ensure your outpatient...

  • Basic Dental OSHA Compliance Manual Kit

    Total compliance has never been easier. This one convenient package contains everything you need to ensure your dental...

Most Popular