Emergency Preparedness for Hospitals and Health Care Facilities

Uninterrupted delivery of goods and services is an integral part of all businesses, but none more so than for health care facilities. A real or presumed disruption in critical services can potentially have a catastrophic effect on the organization, and even the general public. It is imperative that health care organizations have a robust business continuity and emergency preparedness plan in place so that these types of facilities are able to maintain critical operations: adequate preparation can mean the difference between a life saved and a life lost. Patient safety takes on a whole new meaning during times of disaster and crises. Hospitals and health care facilities must be able to not only treat and manage their own patients, but also maintain connections with surrounding communities. These facilities require a robust and holistic plan to ensure critical operations while maintaining quality patient care. Disasters can come in many forms. Natural disasters can include earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, windstorms, ice storms, floods, or fires. Manmade disasters can include terrorist attacks, bioterrorism, or motor vehicle accidents involving multiple casualties. For as much as these disasters may vary in their nature and origin, the one commonality is that they almost always occur without warning. Hospitals and health care facilities need to be able to respond to these scenarios instantaneously, requiring the development and maintenance of adequate and up to date contingency planning and emergency preparedness.