Prepping for winter storms

Accreditation Insider, January 9, 2018

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With the biting cold and heavy snow that struck the East Coast this month, and with more on the way healthcare organizations should take a look at their preparation plans for blizzards and snowstorms.  The following tips come from Allina Health in Minneapolis, MedStar Montgomery in Olney, Md., and University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore.

1.    Plan for the long haul. Plan out sleeping accommodations for staff who will be working on-site during the storm. Also ask all scheduled staff to arrive ahead of the storm.
2.    Expect travel and road conditions to be treacherous well after the storm. Different travel routes often receive different priority when it comes to plowing and clearing, and there can be a large difference in travel conditions even just a few blocks down the road.
3.    Remember that staff are people, too. Make sure staff is taken care of as well. Movies, popcorn, and other entertainment can go a long way toward allowing your staff some rest and relaxation.
4.    Review your business continuity plan. If the storm damages your facility and requires repairs or relocation of services, make sure you have a business continuity plan to keep revenue moving.
5.    Emphasize smooth communication. Outside lines of communication are often disrupted during a storm or emergency. Healthcare organizations’ internal communication should be on point in order to pick up that slack.
6.    Review and practice your disaster management protocols. The regular review and execution of the disaster drills required of your hospital by The Joint Commission is important to stay prepared for when a disaster finally does happen—and it will.

For more articles like this, check out our sister publication Inside the Joint Commission.

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