8 Tips for Severe Weather Emergency Planning for Hospitals

by | May 5, 2019

severe weather emergency planning for hospitalsHospital preparedness for a severe weather emergency helps your facility provide the healthcare services your community and patients need during a natural disaster. Depending on your region, your hospital or health system may need to plan for severe weather emergencies such as a hurricane, a tornado, flooding, a storm surge, or a wildfire.

Will your hospital be ready to serve incoming and current patients throughout a severe weather event? Even if you lose power or connectivity? Even if you have to evacuate your patients? Even if you accept patients from another facility? Keep in mind that the weather may impact your suppliers, employees and home health workers, too.

Healthcare organizations that plan for continuity, coordinate within and outside their facilities, and test their preparedness are better prepared for a severe weather event. Being prepared reduces the disruption of patients and helps save lives. By putting a solid plan in place now, your facility can be well prepared for severe weather and other natural disasters.

As you develop your severe weather emergency preparedness capabilities, consider the following eight hospital emergency preparedness planning tips:

1. Include all stakeholders – even those outside your facility
Involve in your planning any department, partner or supplier that provides an essential service to keep your facility running.

2. Leverage community resources, coalitions and partners
Also involve community partners and emergency management coalitions, and reach out to large organizations that may have space, services or funds to support your emergency management plan.

3. Focus on continuity of operations
Your hospital has unique continuity of operation needs. Identify the essential services your facility must perform and the resources required to make certain these services continue.

4. Analyze risk for the hazards relevant to your facility and your area
An all-hazards approach helps you analyze risk and develop a risk mitigation plan based on the types of hazards most likely to occur in your area and to which your facility is most vulnerable.

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5. Identify resources needed to maintain and restore critical functions
The significance of the impact and the amount of time a facility can safely do without the service are key considerations. What resources do you need to restore or replicate critical services?

6. Establish a hospital incident command structure (HICS)
Quick response on a large scale means knowing who is in charge and who needs key information.

7. Prepare your hospital command center (HCC)
A virtual hospital command center can free your personnel to stay involved remotely via smartphones, tablets, laptops and home computers.

8. Rehearse the plan with your community
Know how long it will take to get systems up and running, whether the timeframe meets goals and compliance requirements, and what will be required to close the gap.

LiveProcess’ emergency management system helps hospitals to efficiently plan for severe weather emergencies, mass notify, mobilize and coordinate resources during a severe weather event, and track and document the hospitals’ emergency preparedness and response for compliance and process improvement.

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terry-zysk-100x100Terry Zysk, CEO of LiveProcess, has more than two decades of experience in leading organizations that provide innovative solutions to the healthcare industry.